How do Danish community pharmacies vary in engaging customers in medicine dialogues at the counter – an observational study
Background: Counter counseling is an important part of community pharmacies service delivery. Difficulties arise because customers appear less interested than the staff in discussing their medicine. It is unclear how individual pharmacies differ with regard to overcoming these obstacles.
Objective: This study explores differences in the communication practices of pharmacies with regard to engaging customers in medicine dialogues.
Methods: The work of Stevenson et al. describing five types of interaction scenarios at the counter was used for structured overt non-participant observations of 100 encounters in each of five Danish pharmacies. Variation in pharmacies success in engaging customers in medicine dialogues were calculated using descriptive statistics, and the statistical significance of observed differences across pharmacies was analyzed using odds ratios (OR).
Results: Considerable differences between the pharmacies were identified. Differences exist in how often pharmacy staff attempts to encourage customers to participate in medication dialogues and how often they succeed. The pharmacies serving the most customers per day were the most successful. A possible link between a low number of refill customers offered counseling and ‘success rate’ was identified.
Conclusions: The pharmacies showed considerable variation in attempts to engage customers in medication dialogues at the counter and success in doing so. The reasons for the identified patterns are unclear.
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