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Pharmacists’ performance in a telephone-based simulated patient study after a mental health capacity-building program


Background The More Than Meds program was developed to enhance community pharmacy based services for people with mental illness. Objective To evaluate the care of pharmacists who participated in this specific program using a telephone-based simulated patient with insomnia. Methods A trained actor used a simulated patient case scenario and telephoned pharmacists (i.e., intervention group pharmacists) and a control group of pharmacists approximately 6 months following training. Pharmacists were scored on their assessment of the patient and problem, guidance provided on both pharmacological and nonpharmacological care, communications, and overall quality. Results Sixty-three pharmacists (n = 29 intervention, n = 34 controls) were reached. Call duration was longer with intervention versus control group pharmacists [4.93 min (SD 2.3) vs. 4.00 min (SD 1.8)]. Medication recommendations were made by 76 and 100 % of intervention versus control pharmacists (p = 0.002), respectively. Intervention group pharmacists scored significantly higher on most components within communication and overall quality scores. Scores for assessing the patient, the problem, sleep, and medication supply were lower than expected for both groups. Conclusion Intervention group pharmacists performed better than controls on several components of a telephone-based simulated patient scenario for insomnia following More Than Meds training. More research is needed regarding telephone consultations in pharmacy practice.

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We would like to acknowledge Steve Ayer and Donna Methot of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia for partnering with us on our project. We would like to thank the pharmacists of Nova Scotia and the people with lived experience of mental illness who formed our More Than Meds teams. Thank you to Mr. Ted Naylor who served as our project coordinator through development and implementation of More Than Meds. Thank you to Mr. Joel C Bergman for assistance in the literature review.


The work surrounding the development and implementation of More Than Meds was funded by the Canada Post Foundation for Mental Health and the Drug Evaluation Alliance of Nova Scotia. The funding agencies were not involved in the design, interpretation, or writing of the manuscript. Publication of results was specified as a component of the knowledge translation strategy but the decision to publish and content to be published was the decision of the researchers.

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Correspondence to Andrea L. Murphy.

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Murphy, A.L., Martin-Misener, R., Kutcher, S.P. et al. Pharmacists’ performance in a telephone-based simulated patient study after a mental health capacity-building program. Int J Clin Pharm 37, 1009–1013 (2015).

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