Cooperation between community pharmacists and general practitioners in eastern Germany: attitudes and needs
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Background Regions of decreasing medical supply with long distances to pharmacy or practice require a good collaboration between practitioners and pharmacists. Objective To determine and compare the attitudes of community pharmacists and practitioners towards each other regarding collaboration. Setting Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in Germany. Method 749 general practitioners and practitioners specialized in diabetes care as well as 344 community pharmacists received a 38-item survey regarding their interrelations and attitudes towards each other. Main outcome measure Descriptive statistics of the practitioners’ attitudes towards pharmacists in comparison to the pharmacists’ attitudes towards practitioners in terms of perception of their role, reliability, functions, frequency and helpfulness of contact, cooperation in promoting medication adherence and quality of communication. Results Response rates were 19.4 % (n = 145) for practitioners and 24.4 % (n = 84) for pharmacists. 144 (76.6 %) of practitioners and 79 (71.5 %) of pharmacists strongly trusted the other health care providers’ statements and expertise (p = 0.0076). Practitioner–pharmacist interactions on average were of low frequency. They were, however, perceived to be helpful. The majority of pharmacists (62.7 %) regard their responsibility to ensure adherence with long-term medication to be equal to that of general practitioners. In contrast, the vast majority of practitioners (90.1 %) estimated their proportion of responsibility for adherence to long-term medication to be 75 % or more. At the same time, practitioners perceived the pharmacists’ current influence on patient adherence to long-term medication as generally positive (65.0 %). This is in line with the pharmacists’ self-perception (94.7 %). Conclusion The general trust of both health care providers towards each other is a good pre-condition for further collaborations. However, increased frequency in practitioner–pharmacist-interactions is necessary. Additionally, the role perceptions of pharmacists and practitioners should be harmonised as there are still misunderstandings in the responsibilities of both parties.
KeywordsAttitudes Cooperation Germany Physician–pharmacist-relationship Role perception
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