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Patient Educ Couns. 2008 May;71(2):265-84. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2008.01.004. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Physician-patient and pharmacist-patient communication: geriatrics' perceptions and opinions.

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Department of Speech, Communication Sciences, & Theatre, St. John's University, Jamaica, NY 11439, USA.



Earlier research examined the perceptions of the pharmacist-patient relationship quality using data from a systematic random sample of non-institutionalized elderly in the United States. The purposes of this study were to determine: (1) how the findings of this study, conducted in a culturally diverse urban area in Queens, New York, compare with the earlier study; (2) how community-dwelling elderly patients in a metropolitan area perceive their relationship with the pharmacist compared to the physician; and (3) the extent to which their perceived relationship quality predicts medication-related knowledge, medication-related outcomes, and self-efficacy for medication management.


One hundred and twenty-one elderly individuals aged 65 and over who took at least one prescription medication, selected from three senior centers, participated in the study. Of the total responses, 102 were useable.


Our sample demonstrated significantly lower levels of perceived quality of relationship with their pharmacist compared to earlier research. In contrast, the participants in this study perceived a better quality of relationship with their physicians than pharmacists. Further, the quality of relationship with physician predicted medication-related knowledge, medication-related outcome expectations, and self-efficacy for medication management.


The findings of this study suggest that pharmacists still have a way to go to fully meet patients' healthcare needs, particularly in culturally diverse urban settings.


Further research is needed to examine ways to improve pharmacist-patient interactions and, therefore, patients' perceptions of pharmacists.

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