Evaluating community pharmacy practice in Qatar using simulated patient method: acute gastroenteritis management

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Patient Simulation, Community Pharmacy Services, Pharmacies, Professional Practice, Gastroenteritis, Qatar


Objective: To evaluate Qatari pharmacists’ prescribing, labeling, dispensing and counseling practices in response to acute community-acquired gastroenteritis.

Methods: The simulated patient method was used in this study. Thirty pharmacies in Doha were randomly selected and further randomized into two groups: Face-to-Face (n=15) vs. Telephone-call (n=15) per simulated patient; 2 simulated patients were involved. Prescribing, labeling, dispensing and counseling practices were assessed. Data analysis was performed using Mann-Whitney and chi square tests at alpha=0.05.

Results: Most pharmacists prescribed and dispensed medicines (96%), including antimicrobials (43.9%), antidiarrheals (36%), antiemetics (5.1%) and antipyretics (3%). Counseling practices were poor (62.1% in the face-to-face group vs 70% in the telephone-call group did not counsel simulated patients about the dispensed medicines; p-value=0.50). In more than one-third of the encounters, at least one labeling parameter was missing. The duration of each interaction in minutes was not significantly different between the groups [median (IQR); 3(4.25) in the face-to-face group versus 2(0.25) in the telephone-call group; p-value=0.77]. No significant differences in prescribing or dispensing behaviors were present between groups (p-value>0.05).

Conclusion: Qatar community pharmacists’ labeling, dispensing, and counseling practices were below expectation, thus urging the need for continuous professional development.

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