Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 787–794 | Cite as

Opinion comparison concerning future information technology in Finnish community pharmacies

  • Anna Marietta WesterlingEmail author
  • Jaana Tuulikki Hynninen
  • Veikko Ewald Haikala
  • Marja S. Airaksinen
Research Article


Objective To compare the opinions of community pharmacy owners, managers and personnel concerning the key features of the future information technology system needed in Finnish community pharmacies. Setting The study was targeted to the pharmacists working in community pharmacies as managers (owners and staff pharmacists with M.Sc. degree) or personnel responsible for dispensing and patient counselling (pharmacists with B.Sc. degree). Method A national cross-sectional survey to all of Finnish community pharmacy owners (n = 580) and staff pharmacists (B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees, n = 1709) working in community pharmacies, was conducted in order to determine differences in opinions between these occupation groups with different professional duties. The response rates were 53% for pharmacy owners (n = 308) and 22% for staff pharmacists (n = 373). Main outcome measure The main outcome measure was the perceived importance of 89 potential features for a new IT system ranked by using a five-point Likert scale. Results The responding community pharmacy managers and staff pharmacists had differences in their ranking of more than half (52%) of the potential features listed in the survey questionnaire. The features related to the pharmacy’s internal processes, such as financial management, sales and marketing management and stock holding, were ranked significantly higher by the managers, while the personnel prioritized the features supporting pharmaceutical service provision and personnel management. The managers and personnel shared their opinion on the importance of features supporting drug information and patient counselling, medication safety and interprofessional collaboration. Conclusion The managers and staff pharmacists have different views of the importance of IT features, reflecting their different professional duties in the community pharmacy. A high priority was given for the features familiar to the users and needed in their daily practice. This indicates the need for involving different occupation groups in planning the new IT systems for community pharmacies.


Community pharmacy Finland Information technology Manager Personnel Staff 



Financial support to mail the survey was obtained from the Association of Finnish Pharmacies.

Conflicts of interest

The researchers have no direct financial interests in the development of community pharmacy IT systems in Finland or internationally.


  1. 1.
    Hepler CD, Strand L. Opportunities and responsibilities in pharmaceutical care. American J Hosp Pharm. 1990;47:533–43.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kreling DH, Doucette WR, Mott DA, Gaither CA, Pedersen CA, Schommer JC. Community pharmacists’ work environments: evidence from the 2004 National pharmacist workforce study. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2006;46(3):331–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cooksey JA, Knapp KK, Walton SM, Cultice JM. Challenges to the pharmacist profession from escalating pharmaceutical demand. Health Aff. 2002;21(5):182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Angelo LB, Christensen DB, Ferreri SP. Impact of community pharmacy automation on workflow, workload, and patient interaction. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2005;45(2):138–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Westerling AM, Haikala VE, Bell JS, Airaksinen MS. Logistics or patient care—which features do independent Finnish pharmacy owners prioritize in a strategic plan for future information technology systems? J Am Pharm Assoc. 2010;50(1):24–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Vogenberg AJ. The new pharmacist assistant: is there a computer in your future? Contemp Pharm Pract. 1979;2(3):149–51.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Saario H. Diffusion of innovations in community pharmacies: a questionnaire based survey. Master’s Thesis, University of Helsinki (English summary), 2005.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    The Association of Finnish Pharmacies. Annual Review 2007. The Association of Finnish Pharmacies:Helsinki 2008. Accessed 12 Jul 2010.
  9. 9.
    World Medical Association. Declaration of Helsinki—ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. Accessed Jul 12 2010.
  10. 10.
    MacIntosh C, Weiser C, Wassimi A, Reddick J, Scovis N, Guy M, Boesen K. Attitudes toward and factors affecting implementation of medication therapy management services by community pharmacists. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2009;49(1):26–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Teinilä T, Grönroos V, Airaksinen M. A system approach to dispensing errors: a national study on perceptions of the Finnish community pharmacists. Pharm World Sci. 2008;30(6):823–33.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Puumalainen I, Kansanaho H, Varunki M, Ahonen R, Airaksinen M. Usefulness of the USP medication counselling behavior guidelines. Pharm World Sci. 2005;27(6):465–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kansanaho H, Puumalainen I, Varunki M, Ahonen R, Airaksinen M. Implementation of a professional program in Finnish community pharmacies in 2000–2002. Patient Educ Couns. 2005;57(3):272–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kansanaho HM, Puumalainen II, Varunki MM, Airaksinen MS, Aslani P. Attitudes of Finnish community pharmacists toward concordance. Ann Pharmacother. 2004;38(11):1946–53.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Marietta Westerling
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jaana Tuulikki Hynninen
    • 1
  • Veikko Ewald Haikala
    • 2
  • Marja S. Airaksinen
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Social Pharmacy, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsingin yliopistoFinland
  2. 2.Espoo Central PharmacyEspooFinland

Personalised recommendations