Development of pharmacy competency framework for the changing demands of Thailand’s pharmaceutical and health services
Background: In Thailand, pharmacists are responsible for all activities to ensure access to medicines throughout pharmaceutical supply chain. Competency framework (CF) is an important guidance for professional development and workforce planning.
Objective: This study aimed to explore needs for pharmacy services in pharmaceutical supply chain and competencies of pharmacists to serve those needs. It was the first step for developing evidence-based pharmacy CF within the context of Thailand in 2026.
Methods: A qualitative method using in-depth interviews to gain rich data from practitioners and leaders in all area of practices. 99 key informants from 56 workplaces in Thailand were interviewed during January and March 2016. Data was transcribed verbatim, and thematic analysis was used. Competencies were extracted, followed by several rounds of group discussion among team members to develop an initial framework. The competencies and CF were presented, and recommendations were gained from professional leaders for refining the findings.
Results: The key informants agreed that pharmacist’s works and responsibilities have gradually been drifted to support changes in healthcare and pharmaceutical systems. The upcoming pharmaceutical services call for higher standards of practice, larger number of personnel, and skillful pharmacists who have strong foundation in pharmaceutical knowledge as well as an ability to integrate knowledge into practices. Two sets of CFs were established. The general CF comprises five core domains: product focus, patient focus, healthcare system focus, community focus, and personal focus for self-improvement. These general competencies allow practitioners to perform basic professional tasks, including providing information, dispensing, and compounding. The service-specific competency is the integration of general competencies tailored into specific area of practice.
Conclusions: Regarding the professional goal to evolve pharmacists from generalists to specialists for providing higher quality of professional services, the pharmacists are required to demonstrate general competencies and service-specific competencies. The findings serve as the need-based evidence for developing a national CF for pharmacists in Thailand.
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