Effects of a management technician on structured working in Dutch community pharmacies
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Methods: The intervention program provided the management technician with knowledge, tools and skills needed for the organisation of patient education activities in her community pharmacy. Twenty-eight pharmacies were selected for the study. After matching, each pharmacy was randomly assigned to either the experimental or control group. In the pharmacies of the experimental group, a technician was selected to become the management technician.
Main outcome measures: Pharmacy technicians were assessed by means of written questionnaires at baseline and immediately after the intervention (12 months). The outcomes were the variables that were directly targeted by the intervention, and included technicians’ perception of the availability of policy plans, support for patient education activities towards their implementation, evaluation, and provisions for continuity.
Results: After 12 months, the following indicators for structured working were noted to have increased in the experimental group compared to the control group: the technicians in the experimental group more often reported an awareness of policy plans, less lack of continuity of activities, support and evaluation for implementing patient education activities. We also observed that the control group had a higher baseline level and the effects on support and evaluation showed differences between pharmacies. The observed increases were more pronounced in pharmacies that had a higher exposure to the intervention, and in the case of support and evaluation relevant in this more exposed group.
Conclusion: We found indications for effects of the intervention program, especially in the pharmacies with increased exposure. However, results could be influenced by regression to the mean, as the control group started with a higher mean than the experimental group. We conclude that technicians’ participation in the management of patient education activities appears to be effective when she has a minimum of hours to spend on this task in her pharmacy.
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