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Utility and value of a medicines information service provided by pharmacists: a survey of health professionals: Medicines information service by pharmacists

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Objectives Many health professionals lack the time and skills to search for and appraise
information on medicines. A solution might be to use others skilled in evidence appraisal,
who make recommendations or provide information tailored to patients’ needs. The objectives
of this study were to assess how advice provided to health professionals by the
northwest of England regional medicines information centre is used, whether it is useful for
patient care and to measure satisfaction with the service.
Methods A questionnaire was designed and sent to health professionals who contacted the
centre between September 2008 and March 2009. Enquirers contacting the centre more than
once were sent a questionnaire only in response to their first enquiry during the study period.
Non-responders were sent a reminder.
Key findings Questionnaires were sent to 672 enquirers; 68% were returned. Nearly all
respondents used the advice provided. Of the 430 respondents who provided data on how
they used the information, 81% used it to manage a current patient and 29% to plan the care
of future patients; nearly all considered it useful. Where data were given (n = 366), half used
it to check if current or proposed management was appropriate, 45% to make changes to
therapy and 35% to advise another health professional. In addition to patient care, onequarter
(n = 105/430) of respondents used the information for continuing professional development
and 16% (n = 69/430) for training or teaching.
Conclusions Health professionals value the enquiry-answering service and use the advice
provided for patient care, continuing professional development and educating patients and
other health professionals. The service is responsive, supporting the care of patients needing
immediate and future management.
Keywords drug information services; education; health personnel; patient care;
questionnaires
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-361
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

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