Browsing by Author "Westerling, Anna"

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  • Westerling, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    In the context of health care, information technology (IT) has an important role in the operational infrastructure, ranging from business management to patient care. An essential part of the system is medication management in inpatient and outpatient care. Community pharmacists strategy has been to extend practice responsibilities beyond dispensing towards patient care services. Few studies have evaluated the strategic development of IT systems to support this vision. The objectives of this study were to assess and compare independent Finnish community pharmacy owners and staff pharmacists priorities concerning the content and structure of the next generation of community pharmacy IT systems, to explore international experts visions and strategic views on IT development needs in relation to services provided in community pharmacies, to identify IT innovations facilitating patient care services and to evaluate their development and implementation processes, and to assess community pharmacists readiness to adopt innovations. This study applied both qualitative and quantitative methods. A qualitative personal interview of 14 experts in community pharmacy services and related IT from eight countries and a national survey of Finnish community pharmacy owners (mail survey, response rate 53%, n=308), and of a representative sample of staff pharmacists (online survey, response rate 22%, n=373) were conducted. Finnish independent community pharmacy owners gave priority to logistical functions but also to those related to medication information and patient care. The managers and staff pharmacists have different views of the importance of IT features, reflecting their different professional duties in the community pharmacy. This indicates the need for involving different occupation groups in planning the new IT systems for community pharmacies. A majority of the international experts shared the vision of community pharmacy adopting a patient care orientation; supported by IT-based documentation, new technological solutions, access to information, and shared patient data. Community pharmacy IT innovations were rare, which is paradoxical because owners and staff pharmacists perception of their innovativeness was seen as being high. Community pharmacy IT systems development processes usually had not undergone systematic needs assessment research beforehand or evaluation after the implementation and were most often coordinated by national governments without subsequent commercialization. Specifically, community pharmacy IT developments lack research, organization, leadership and user involvement in the process. Those responsible for IT development in the community pharmacy sector should create long-term IT development strategies that are in line with community pharmacy service development strategies. This could provide systematic guidance for future projects to ensure that potential innovations are based on a sufficient understanding of pharmacy practice problems that they are intended to solve, and to encourage strong leadership in research, development of innovations so that community pharmacists potential innovativeness is used, and that professional needs and strategic priorities will be considered even if the development process is led by those outside the profession.