Challenges in chronic illness management: a qualitative study of Australian pharmacists’ perspectives
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Objective To explore pharmacists’ views on managing patients with chronic illness; to understand the incentives and barriers they perceive and the solutions they propose to overcome these barriers. Setting Hospital pharmacists, with experience in managing people with chronic illnesses, working in western Sydney, Australia, were interviewed during June and July 2008. Method A qualitative study involving group and individual interviews using a semi-structured interview guide. Results Hospital pharmacists identified lack of communication between different healthcare providers and with patients as a contributing factor to lack of continuity of care and this was perceived as a major barrier in managing patients with chronic illnesses. Pharmacists were also concerned about the effects of medication costs, and poor patient knowledge regarding their disease and medications, and the effects on adherence. Suggested solutions included taking a teamwork approach in the management of chronic illness and providing more information to patients to improve adherence. Conclusion The identified incentives and barriers have provided valuable information on what pharmacists face in managing patients with chronic illness. Most of the solutions suggested by them have been tested and proven unsuccessful. Develop successful health policy to address the identified barriers remains a challenge.