Pilot study of patient perception of pharmacists as care providers based on student pharmacist health screening

The role of pharmacists as reliable health care practitioners is a perception that is still evolving today. A pilot study done at the University of of Minnesota evaluated patient perceptions on the care pharmacists can provide to patients, mainly through student pharmacist-led interactions with patients. By allowing student pharmacists to use the AIDET communication technique learned in pharmacy courses, perceptions on both student pharmacists and registered pharmacists were discussed. The AIDET communication technique stands for acknowledge, introduce, duration, explanation, and thank you. The acronym allows student pharmacists and providers to create a patient focused interaction eloquently and to allow students to develop a culture of service. The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy incorporates this framework early in their curriculum with the hope to make future patients of pharmacists feel comfortable with their health care interactions.

This study used an IRB-approved survey that assessed current perceptions of pharmacists and patient awareness of pharmacist involvement in point of care (POC) services. It also gauged how patients felt about pharmacy students performing health screenings. All survey participants provided information on their normal pharmacy experiences, education and income level, demographics. At the health fair, patients blood glucose, blood pressure, and bone density were screened. Responses were recorded before and after student assessments using AIDET communication. Results from this pilot study indicated that only 94.8% of patients surveyed prior to AIDET implantation said they would consider seeing a pharmacist to provide the selected health screenings, and 100% of patients responded that they would after AIDET implantation. Overall, a majority of those respondents 65 and older said they knew before the health fair that pharmacist was able to provide POC screening. 50% of participants indicated that they were trusting of the student pharmacists performing their screenings before the interaction, and 70% indicated that they were trusting post-AIDET implementation.

I think that it’s extremely relevant for pharmacy students to try and understand the perceptions their patients have of pharmacists in general – because this will almost always influence their interactions with us as student pharmacists. It can be scary as a student to interact with patients and provide accurate health information. It often crosses your mind if your patient even think that their community pharmacist is a trusted and reliable professional. The AIDET mnemonic sited in this study seems to be a good way to introduce the basics of patient communication to students, however, I think that students should be careful in getting stuck using a rigid framework in their practice. This may make it more difficult in the future to adapt to some of the harder or difficult patient interactions they are sure to experience as a practicing pharmacist and professional.

 

J Am Pharm Assoc. 2015;55:626–633. Link to Article: http://www.japha.org/article/S1544-3191(16)30007-3/pdf

Students as catalysts to increase community pharmacy-led direct patient care service

This study analyzed the effectiveness of an advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) elective at 5 colleges of pharmacy in the U.S. that promotes patient care in a community setting. Partner for Promotion (PFP) is an elective that provides student pharmacists with the chance to learn and build patient-centered practice skills that are most often used in community pharmacies.

Over the course of 3 years, 15 different patient care services were implemented, such as MTM, immunizations and prevention services, under PFP by 38 student pharmacists. Faculty at the schools of pharmacy were trained on the PFP program, who recruited local pharmacies to implement it. Each year a survey was completed by the faculty members at the school evaluating the program and its efficacy. The study found that the faculty thought components that were most successful were things such as ease of access to materials for the program and communication among the faculty networks. 100% of the faculty who completed the surveys found PFP to be “very useful” (highest on a scale from 1 to 4).

While the University of Pittsburgh does an incredible job preparing us student pharmacists to be patient care providers, many other schools of pharmacy do not do as much. Programs like this can help prepare more students to be patient-centered practitioners. By training as many student pharmacists as possible in a manner that promotes direct patient care, pharmacists and especially students can greatly help shift our health care from quantity to quality.

Rodin JL, Ulbrich TR, Jennings BT, et al. Students as catalysts to increase community pharmacy-led direct patient care services. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2015;55:642-8.