Opinion comparison concerning future information technology in Finnish community pharmacies
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Objective To compare the opinions of community pharmacy owners, managers and personnel concerning the key features of the future information technology system needed in Finnish community pharmacies. Setting The study was targeted to the pharmacists working in community pharmacies as managers (owners and staff pharmacists with M.Sc. degree) or personnel responsible for dispensing and patient counselling (pharmacists with B.Sc. degree). Method A national cross-sectional survey to all of Finnish community pharmacy owners (n = 580) and staff pharmacists (B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees, n = 1709) working in community pharmacies, was conducted in order to determine differences in opinions between these occupation groups with different professional duties. The response rates were 53% for pharmacy owners (n = 308) and 22% for staff pharmacists (n = 373). Main outcome measure The main outcome measure was the perceived importance of 89 potential features for a new IT system ranked by using a five-point Likert scale. Results The responding community pharmacy managers and staff pharmacists had differences in their ranking of more than half (52%) of the potential features listed in the survey questionnaire. The features related to the pharmacy’s internal processes, such as financial management, sales and marketing management and stock holding, were ranked significantly higher by the managers, while the personnel prioritized the features supporting pharmaceutical service provision and personnel management. The managers and personnel shared their opinion on the importance of features supporting drug information and patient counselling, medication safety and interprofessional collaboration. Conclusion The managers and staff pharmacists have different views of the importance of IT features, reflecting their different professional duties in the community pharmacy. A high priority was given for the features familiar to the users and needed in their daily practice. This indicates the need for involving different occupation groups in planning the new IT systems for community pharmacies.
KeywordsCommunity pharmacy Finland Information technology Manager Personnel Staff
Financial support to mail the survey was obtained from the Association of Finnish Pharmacies.
Conflicts of interest
The researchers have no direct financial interests in the development of community pharmacy IT systems in Finland or internationally.
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