International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 522–528 | Cite as

Exploring community pharmacists’ experiences of surveying patients for drug utilization research purposes

  • Pia FriskEmail author
  • Ulrika Bergman
  • Sofia Kälvemark-Sporrong
Research Article


Background Patient self-reported data are important in drug utilization research, but often logistically difficult to collect. During 2006–2012, 72 Swedish community pharmacies regularly collected such data through structured survey interviews at the pharmacy counter, performed by the dispensing pharmacists. This study is part of a validation of that data acquisition method. Objectives (1) To explore the experiences of the pharmacists involved, (2) to explore a random or systematic exclusion of eligible patients by the pharmacists, and (3) to find areas of improvement to the applied method of surveying. Setting 72 Swedish community pharmacies, distributed all over the country. Method (a) A questionnaire was distributed to approximately 400 dispensing pharmacists at the pharmacies conducting the patient surveys; (b) semi-structured telephone interviews conducted with 19 pharmacists at 12 of the pharmacies. Main outcome measure Proportions of pharmacists reporting positive and negative experiences of structured survey interviews, the nature of their experiences, proportion of pharmacists reporting to avoid survey interviews and reasons for doing so, and suggested areas of improvement. Results A total of 126 pharmacists (32 %) completed the questionnaire. A majority (82 %) reported positive experiences of interviewing. In addition to the data generated as the primary goal of surveying, secondary benefits such as an improved patient–pharmacist dialogue and an increased detection and resolution of drug related problems were reported. However, a majority (63 %) of the pharmacists also reported negative experiences related to a perceived lack of time to fulfil one’s professional obligations. Almost half of the pharmacists (44 %) in the survey admitted that they occasionally avoided interviewing eligible patients, due to the immediate increase in work load. The limited availability of staff resources was the most apparent area of improvement. Conclusion Under certain conditions, community pharmacies are feasible as a setting for conducting patient surveys in drug utilization research, and dispensing pharmacists suitable for conducting them. When regular dispensing staff perform the survey interviews as a part of the drug dispensing process, additional resources to manage the immediate increase in work load have to be considered. Otherwise, data quality may be compromised.


Community pharmacy Interview Pharmacist Survey Sweden 



We gratefully acknowledge the pharmacists who contributed to this study.


This study was partly funded by the Swedish Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Conflicts of interest

Authors Pia Frisk and Sofia Kälvemark-Sporrong were formerly employed by the National Corporation of Swedish Pharmacies.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pia Frisk
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ulrika Bergman
    • 1
  • Sofia Kälvemark-Sporrong
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy, BMCUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of PharmacyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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