The role of community pharmacists in screening and subsequent management of chronic respiratory diseases: a systematic review
Objective: The purpose of this review was to evaluate the role of community pharmacists in provision of screening with/without subsequent management of undiagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and uncontrolled asthma.
Methods: An extensive literature search using four databases (ie. Medline, PubMed, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (IPA) and Scopus) with search terms pharmacy, screening, asthma or COPD was conducted. Searches were limited to the years 2003-2013, those in English and those reporting research with humans. Data retrieval, analysis and result presentation employed a scoping review method.
Results: Seventeen articles met the inclusion/exclusion criteria, of which fifteen studies were based on people with asthma and two were based on people with COPD. Only seven asthma studies and one COPD study involved screening followed by subsequent management. More than half of the people screened were found to be poorly controlled and up to 62% of people were identified at high risk for COPD by community pharmacists. The studies varied in the method and type of asthma control assessment/screening, the type of intervention provided and the outcomes measured. The limitations of the reviewed studies included varying definitions of asthma control, different study methodologies, and the lack of long-term follow-up. While many different methods were used for risk assessment and management services by the pharmacists, all the studies demonstrated that community pharmacists were capable of identifying people with poorly controlled asthma and undiagnosed COPD and providing them with suitable interventions.
Conclusion: The literature review identified that community pharmacists can play an effective role in screening of people with poorly controlled asthma and undiagnosed COPD along with delivering management interventions. However, there is very little literature available on screening for these chronic respiratory conditions. Future research should focus on development of patient care delivery model incorporating a screening protocol followed by targeted management interventions delivered by the community pharmacist.
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