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Res Social Adm Pharm. 2014 Jan-Feb;10(1):1-20. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2013.03.002. Epub 2013 Apr 20.

A meta-narrative review of recorded patient-pharmacist interactions: exploring biomedical or patient-centered communication?

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Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 3-171, Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, University of Alberta, 11405 87 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 1C9.



Pharmacists worldwide require improved patient-centered communication skills as they transition from a dispensing role to enhanced involvement in patient care. Researchers have studied pharmacist communication through audio and video recordings of patient-pharmacist encounters. A meta-narrative review of research using these recordings will offer insight into the extent of biomedical vs. patient-centered communication in patient-pharmacist exchanges.


This review aimed to characterize research on patient-pharmacists interactions using audio or video recordings and explore the 1) focus of research questions, 2) study design, 3) data analysis methods, 4) main findings and 5) presence of patient-centered vs. biomedical models of interaction.


Drawing on the principles of meta-narrative systematic review, a literature search was performed to identify studies published in English. No publication date limits were implemented. Key search terms included: "audio recording", "video recording", "communication", "patient counseling", "patient interaction", "discourse analysis", "conversation analysis", "narrative analysis", and "content analysis". The search was conducted in five databases: Medline, Embase, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (IPA), Web of Science, and Academic Search Complete.


Forty-one articles met the inclusion criteria and represent 32 unique collections of patient-pharmacist recordings. The 23 quantitative studies focused on "what" was in the interaction, whereas the 5 qualitative studies characterized specialized pharmacy practice and 13 studies used conversational analysis to describe "how" patients and pharmacists interact. The majority of research described the content of recorded interactions in community pharmacies. Twenty-three studies presented evidence of a biomedical model, whereas 8 studies characterized a patient-centered focus.


A developing body of research used recordings to describe the content of patient-pharmacist communication and explore the quality of the interactions, validation of coding tools, impact of an intervention, and patient-pharmacist power asymmetry. Study findings, particularly the identification of biomedical vs. patient-centered communication, were guided by the quantitative, qualitative, or conversational analysis research paradigm.


Audio recordings; Biomedical; Patient centered care; Patient–pharmacist interactions; Video recordings

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