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Community pharmacists’ attitudes towards patient leaflets: Exploring perceptions underlying an electronic local production of tailored written information

Department of Social Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

Introduction: Low health literacy in Portugal, revealed by limited patients’ knowledge of their medication, may be improved by written information that is individually tailored for each patient. Tailored content can be produced through computer software and delivered by community pharmacies to patients. Objective: To assess community pharmacists’ real-life management, usage and perceived utility of software developed to produce individually tailored patient leaflets at community pharmacies. Methods: The software contained five different pharmacist-selected clinical information fields which allows for the adjustment of information to each patient’s information needs. Using an exploratory study design, community pharmacists’ perceptions were purposively selected and qualitatively assessed. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and iteratively coded using a thematic approach outlined by attitudinal theory. Results: Eight participants took part in the study. Emerging codes led to the construction of two main themes: Current PLs usage in Portuguese community pharmacy; and Tailored PLs usage in Portuguese community pharmacy. Pharmacists exhibited a generally positive attitude concerning the relevance and use of patient leaflets to address individual patient’s information needs, including an improvement in health literacy. The model was considered effective, functional, satisfying and user-friendly. Conclusion: Although additional studies are needed, the introduction of a leaflet-tailoring software in Portuguese community pharmacies seems to be feasible as an additional resource to improve the quality of patient information and counselling. The next research steps should address the impact on patients’ medicines-related information, including the level to which patients are able to correctly interpret the information and to adjust accordingly their health behaviours. Practice implications: The software fits present community pharmacy practice and routines, bringing advantages to pharmacists’ willingness to deliver meaningful written information to patients, thus contributing to improved patient health literacy.
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