Needs for competency improvement in pharmacy service at a primary care level

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Raksaworn Jaisa-ard
Tipaporn Kanjanarach


Introduction and objectives: Pharmacists’ tasks at the primary care level have not yet been officially specified. This study aimed to: (1) identify pharmacists’ opinions towards their tasks at the primary care level, their own knowledge of conducting these tasks and the level of support being provided, and (2) identify their needs for competency improvement. Materials and Methods: This study was divided into 2 phases.  The first phase was, quantitative cross sectional survey using postal self-administered questionnaire was employed to collect data from all 275 pharmacists who were team leaders of pharmacy service at a primary care level in government community hospitals in the northeastern region of Thailand. Potential tasks of pharmacists at the primary care level were provided. Subjects were asked to determine which tasks must be performed by pharmacists and which tasks can be performed by others under a pharmacist’s supervision. Self-evaluation of their own knowledge necessary for conducting services at primary care level and the level of support were assessed on a 5-point rating scale ranging from 1 (the lowest) to 5 (the highest). In the second phase, a focus group interview was conducted with 30 purposively selected pharmacists. All of them had provided service at primary level for at least 3 years. Results:  The response rate of the survey was 55.6% (153/275). More than 80% of the respondents were of the view that tasks which must be performed by pharmacists were: identifying and planning interventions to solve patients’ drug-related problems, law enforcement and establishment of health product surveillance systems. The mean score of knowledge in patient and family care, and community care were 3.6 (sd:0.8) and 3.7 (sd:0.7) respectively. A majority of the respondents rated work incentive at the lowest level. The three needs most expressed by the interviewed pharmacists were: knowledge and skill in conducting home health care and family care, knowledge about herbs and dietary supplements commonly used by chronic disease patients and practical techniques to conduct community care.  Conclusion: To improve the quality of the health service at a primary care level, the Pharmacy council and Ministry of Public Health which are the legitimate organizations to establish and endorse pharmacist job descriptions should clearly specify pharmacists’ tasks at the primary care level, design training which address their needs and identify strategies to support the operation of pharmacy services at the primary care level.

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Pharmaceutical Practice


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