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Specialized community pharmacy services, involving the provision of disease state management and care by pharmacists, have been developed and trialled and have demonstrated very good health outcomes. Most of these services have been developed from a healthcare professional perspective. However, for the future uptake and long-term sustainability of these services as well as for better and sustained health outcomes for patients, it is vital to gain an understanding of patients' preferences. We can then structure healthcare services to match these preferences and needs rather than around clinical viewpoints alone. The aim of this study was to elicit patient preferences for pharmacy-based specialized asthma services using a discrete choice experiment and to explore the value/importance that patients place on the different attributes of the asthma service. The existence of preference heterogeneity in the population was also investigated. The study was conducted with asthma patients who had recently experienced a specialized asthma management service at their pharmacy in New South Wales, Australia. Pharmacists delivering the asthma service mailed out the discrete choice questionnaires to participating patients at the end of 6 months of service provision. A latent class (LC) model was used to investigate each patient's strength of preference and preference heterogeneity for several key attributes related to asthma service provision: frequency of visits, access to pharmacist, interaction with pharmacy staff, availability of a private area for consultation, provision of lung function testing, type and depth of advice provision, number of days with asthma symptoms and cost of service. Eighty useable questionnaires (of 170 questionnaires sent out) were received (response rate 47.1%). The study identified various key elements of asthma services important to patients. Further, the LC analysis revealed three classes with differing patient preferences for levels of asthma service provision. Patients in the Minimalistic Model class valued provision of lung function testing and preferred more frequent service visits. Cost of service had a negative effect on service preference for patients in this class. Patients in the Partial Model class mainly derived utility from the provision of lung function testing and comprehensive advice at the pharmacy and also wanted more frequent service visits. The Holistic Model class patients considered all attributes of the service to be important when making a choice. While the majority of the service attributes had a positive effect on preference for patients in this class, cost of service and days with symptoms of asthma had a negative effect on service preference. These patients also preferred fewer service visits. The study identified various key attributes that are important to patients with respect to community pharmacy-based asthma services. The results also demonstrate the existence of preference heterogeneity in the population. Asthma service providers need to take these findings into consideration in the design and development of future service models so as to increase their uptake and ensure their long-term sustainability.


Pradnya Naik-Panvelkar, Carol Armour, John M Rose, Bandana Saini. Patient preferences for community pharmacy asthma services: a discrete choice experiment. PharmacoEconomics. 2012 Oct 01;30(10):961-76

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PMID: 22823521

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