International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 325–335 | Cite as

Community pharmacies automation: any impact on counselling duration and job satisfaction?

  • Afonso Miguel CavacoEmail author
  • Anette Aaland Krookas
Research Article


Background One key indicator of the quality of health practitioners–patient interaction is the encounters’ duration. Automation have been presented as beneficial to pharmacy staff work with patients and thus with a potential impact on pharmacists’ and technicians’ job satisfaction. Objective To compare the interaction length between pharmacy staff and patients, as well as their job satisfaction, in community pharmacies with and without automation. Setting Portuguese community pharmacies with and without automation. Methods This cross-sectional study followed a quasi-experimental design, divided in two phases. In the first, paired community pharmacies with and without automation were purposively selected for a non-participant overt observation. The second phase comprised a job satisfaction questionnaire of both pharmacists and technical staff. Practitioners and patients demographic and interactional data, as well as job satisfaction, were statistically compared across automation. Main outcome measure Interaction length and job satisfaction. Results Sixty-eight practitioners from 10 automated and non-automated pharmacies produced 721 registered interaction episodes. Automation had no significant influence in interaction duration, controlling for gender and professional categories, being significantly longer with older patients (p = 0.017). On average, staff working at the pharmacy counter had 45 % of free time from direct patient contact. The mean overall satisfaction in this sample was 5.52 (SD = 0.98) out of a maximum score of seven, with no significant differences with automation as well as between professional categories, only with a significant lower job satisfaction for younger pharmacists. Conclusion As with previous studies in other settings, duration of the interactions was not influenced by pharmacy automation, as well as practitioners’ job satisfaction, while practitioners’ time constrains seem to be a subjective perception.


Automation Community pharmacy Duration of counselling Job satisfaction Portugal Robotisation 




Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.iMed.UL, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.School of PharmacyThe Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of OsloOsloNorway

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