Provision and Usage of Medical Services by Community Pharmacy: A Comparative Study of New York, Macao and Zhuhai (China)

By Shuai, Ge; Cheong, Kuan-Iong et al. | Canadian Social Science, November 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Provision and Usage of Medical Services by Community Pharmacy: A Comparative Study of New York, Macao and Zhuhai (China)


Shuai, Ge, Cheong, Kuan-Iong, Hao, Hu, Yitao, Wang, Canadian Social Science


Abstract

Community pharmacies around the world are redefining their roles by experimenting to provide medical services directly to consumers. The aim of this study was to investigate the medical services provided by community pharmacies and consumers' usage of these medical services. This study was carried out through semistructured interviews with both community pharmacists and their consumers in New York, Macao and Zhuhai. Community pharmacists reported information about provision of medical services, and consumers provided information about their usage of medical services at community pharmacies accordingly. Through analysis of interview materials it showed that community pharmacies mainly provided free medical examination, reference books and booklet of drug information. Some community pharmacies provided health care lecture and founded own website for medicine information. But touch-screen computer querying system and telephone health care service had not been provided. Additionally the consumers' usage of medical services at community pharmacy is obviously lower than provision by community pharmacy. The provision level of medical services by community pharmacy was relatively low and the types of medical services were relatively narrow. There was an obvious gap between provision of medical services by community pharmacies and usage of such services by consumers. The position of community pharmacy in national health system and capability of community pharmacy have impact on the medical services of community pharmacies.

Key Words: Community pharmacy; Medical services; Comparative study; New York; Macao; Zhuhai (China)

INTRODUCTION

With the rapid change of health and economy environment around the world, community pharmacies are facing with multiple pressures. The policy and regulation changes from government push community pharmacies to take more health responsibilities (Lluch & Kanavos, 2010; Noyce, 2007). Consumers with more diversified background increase the difficulties of deciding service portfolio and ensuring service quality (Larson & MacKeigan, 1994; Panvelkar, Saini, & Armour, 2009; Tinelli, Blenkinsopp, & Bond, 201 1). Besides community pharmacy in every region is facing extreme pressures of fierce competition due to entry of new competitors (Brooks, Klepser, Urmie, Farris, & Doucette, 2007). Just selling medicine is far from enough and the past simple role of drug dispenser is unsustainable any more. Community pharmacies have to try to offer more kinds of service. According to the service content, community pharmacy services can be categorized into three parts: basic services, pharmaceutical services and medical services. Traditionally community pharmacies take most attention to basic service and pharmaceutical service. By facing with various pressures community pharmacies also take efforts to provide more medical services.

There has been an increasing international trend toward the delivery of medical services by community pharmacy (Homburg, Hoyer, & Fassnacht, 2002; Roberts et al, 2005; White & Klinner, 2012). By providing knowledge and information of health care, community pharmacy can increase consumers' patronage and loyalty (Alter, 2002; Whitehead, Atkin, Krass, & Benrimoj, 1999). Therefore community pharmacy can take medical services as a break through and improve its competitiveness by optimizing service types and service quality (Blake, Madhavan, Scott, & Meredith Elswick, 2009; CancrinusMatthijsse, Lindenberg, Bakker, & Groenewegen, 1996; Herna'ndez et al, 2000).

Although generally acknowledging the importance and benefits of providing medical services by community pharmacy, there are still many inconsistences about the ingredients of medical services that could be appropriate for community pharmacy to provide (Hennigen, Fischer, Camargo, & Heineck, 2009). How to conduct medical services by community pharmacies to attract consumers to improve their health status is still full of debates (Petronijevic et al, 2012). …

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