Telepharmacy- a potential method of drug dispensing in Sweden? : An evaluation of a pilot project in a Swedish pharmacy
Abstract: Background: During the last century, closure in rural pharmacies has been increasing in Sweden resulting in unequal access to pharmaceutical services among the population. Telepharmacy is a provision of pharmaceutical care to patients at distance thereby increasing access to health care. Previous studies have shown promising results regarding various clinical outcomes, attitudes of patients and pharmacists in addition to high-quality drug counseling. As pharmaceutical care is essential for safe drug utilization, it is of importance to induce new approaches in Sweden to maintain pharmaceutical care in these areas. Aim: This study aimed to evaluate a telepharmacy system named Farmaceut på Distans at a local pharmacy in Sweden concerning; patient's and pharmacists’ attitudes, areas of improvements, and safety of the method. Methods: The study was performed between 26/4,-7/5 2021. The objectives of this study were evaluated through a questionnaire and short semi-structured interviews with patients, a semi-structured observation, a semi-structured interview with the project leader, and a focus group with included pharmacists. Additionally, a medicine dispensing error protocol was established. Results: Eleven patients, three pharmacists, and the project leader were included in this study. This study shows that patients and pharmacists expressed optimistic attitudes towards Farmaceut på Distans. However, the method requires to be improved regarding technical aspects in advance of implementation. Further, no medicine dispensing errors were obtained. Conclusions: Due to the small sample size, no conclusions can be drawn regarding the safety of the method. Farmaceut på Distans is a promising approach to maintain safe drug utilization in Sweden. However, further studies require to be performed regarding safety and attitudes among users.
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