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J Clin Diagn Res. 2013 Dec;7(12):2912-6. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2013/6198.3789. Epub 2013 Dec 15.

Do Professional Practices among Malaysian Private Healthcare Providers Differ? A Comparative Study using Simulated Patients.

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1
PhD Candidate, Discipline of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia , Penang, Malaysia .

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Malaysia, a South East Asian country, legally permits general medical practitioners in private clinics to dispense medicines. This possibly can dilute the pharmacist role in the provision of healthcare and pharmaceutical care and deprive patients to benefit from these services.

OBJECTIVE:

This study explored, assessed and compared the current status of medicines labeling, patient's counseling, and symptomatic diagnosis by general practitioners and community pharmacists.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

This study used trained Simulated Patients (SP), who participated in a scenario of common cold symptoms at private clinics and community pharmacies. SPs explored medication labeling, patients counseling and symptomatic diagnosis undertaken by general practitioners and community pharmacists. Later, study authors assessed and compared these practices. The study was conducted during June 2011 in Penang, Malaysia.

RESULTS:

The study used descriptive statistics and Fisher-exact test to analyze data. Regarding patients counseling standard, among 100 visits by simulated patients, 64 (64%) from community pharmacists provided information about the medicine name, its indication, dosage and route of administration versus 17 (42.5%) general practitioners during 40 visits (p=0.024). Concerning adherence to labeling standard, for instance, only in one pharmacy visit, (1%) the pharmacist wrote the name of the patient on the medication label versus in 32 (80%) of doctors' visits, the doctors adhered to this labeling standard (p<0.001). In all doctors' visits (n=40, 100%), SPs were asked about symptoms, whereas in 87 (87%) CPs' visits, pharmacists fulfilled this counseling standard (p=0.02).

CONCLUSION:

Although pharmacists showed less compliance to medicine labeling and symptomatic diagnosis compared to doctors, their counseling of patients was better. Separation will definitely contribute to more concentration of each provider on his/her roles and improve and direct the experiences and skills towards being more patient oriented.

KEYWORDS:

Common cold; Community pharmacists; Dispensing doctors; Dispensing separation; General medical practitioners; Malaysia; Medicine labelling; Patient’s counselling; Simulated patients

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