Community pharmacists' use in cancer care of Hungary and Germany ñ a comprehensive evaluation of a patient intended questionnaire complemented with estimations of professional health experts

Johannes Thoma, R. Zelkó, Balázs Hankó

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Abstract

In the Western world cancer expands to the most common cause of premature death and disability. National health systems struggle with a shortage of financial capabilities and staff resources. To limit this rapid emerging problem it is necessary to develop new ideas. Community pharmacists' skills represent a qualified source, which isn't exhausted yet. Present literature contains only few efforts on community pharmacists' support in oncology care. This study aimed to explore community pharmacists' use in present cancer care of Hungary and Germany. A self completed closed-ended questionnaire was distributed to patients in village pharmacies, town pharmacies and hospitals in Hungary and Germany. Five physicians were asked for checking the questionnaire to avoid inappropriate questions or ambiguity and to maintain validity and comprehensibility. Participants were included, if they received an anticancer drug mentioned in a defined list. Statistical evaluation was performed by descriptive analysis. If patients provided a rating on a scale, analysis was performed by means of measure of central tendency and determination of standard deviation. Significant differences among groups were evaluated with Bonferroni test. The level of significance was defined a priori at 5%. Interviews of physicians and pharmacists completed process of opinion making. Analysis of professional health experts' interview was performed by comparison of content and quantity of mentioned answers within and between the two groups of oncologists and community pharmacists. Community pharmacists were accepted as equal and valid information point (8.23 ± 1.81) compared to practitioners (8.44 ± 1.54) and oncologists (9.5 ± 0.83). Cancer patients wished personal relationship, eye to eye advice, time for talking and special consultations offers in community pharmacies (4.11 ± 1.11) or similar at practitioner (4.33 ± 0.80). Community pharmacies were chosen nearly twice as much than internet sources as first information point and assessed significant better regarding seriousness of information (p < 0.001). Food supplement advice (p = 0.004) and pain management (p = 0.012) were significantly better in hospital. The big majority of outcomes showed demand and usefulness of community pharmacists' support in cancer care. Matching these results of cancer reality analysis with previous literature research there is a reverse correlation between rising needs for community pharmacists' support in oncology reality and a shortage of investigation efforts on community pharmacists' interventions in the literature. There is still room for intensified research engagement into community pharmacists' unexhausted skills and both patients and professionals are open-minded to further approaches, such as home care services, medication check-ups or assistance regarding mental supply. Integration and schooling of community pharmacists in special fields of oncology outpatient assistance is necessary to maintain expert knowledge, reduce physicians' workload, limit costs of national health systems and finally enhance cancer patients' supply.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-240
Number of pages12
JournalActa Poloniae Pharmaceutica - Drug Research
Volume75
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018

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Hungary
Pharmacists
Germany
Health
Neoplasms
Pharmacies
Physicians
Surveys and Questionnaires
Interviews
Western World
Premature Mortality
Pain Management
Home Care Services
Dietary Supplements
Workload
Research
Health Care Costs
Internet
Cause of Death
Outpatients

Keywords

  • Cancer care
  • Community pharmacist
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Questionnaire
  • Use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science

Cite this

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abstract = "In the Western world cancer expands to the most common cause of premature death and disability. National health systems struggle with a shortage of financial capabilities and staff resources. To limit this rapid emerging problem it is necessary to develop new ideas. Community pharmacists' skills represent a qualified source, which isn't exhausted yet. Present literature contains only few efforts on community pharmacists' support in oncology care. This study aimed to explore community pharmacists' use in present cancer care of Hungary and Germany. A self completed closed-ended questionnaire was distributed to patients in village pharmacies, town pharmacies and hospitals in Hungary and Germany. Five physicians were asked for checking the questionnaire to avoid inappropriate questions or ambiguity and to maintain validity and comprehensibility. Participants were included, if they received an anticancer drug mentioned in a defined list. Statistical evaluation was performed by descriptive analysis. If patients provided a rating on a scale, analysis was performed by means of measure of central tendency and determination of standard deviation. Significant differences among groups were evaluated with Bonferroni test. The level of significance was defined a priori at 5{\%}. Interviews of physicians and pharmacists completed process of opinion making. Analysis of professional health experts' interview was performed by comparison of content and quantity of mentioned answers within and between the two groups of oncologists and community pharmacists. Community pharmacists were accepted as equal and valid information point (8.23 ± 1.81) compared to practitioners (8.44 ± 1.54) and oncologists (9.5 ± 0.83). Cancer patients wished personal relationship, eye to eye advice, time for talking and special consultations offers in community pharmacies (4.11 ± 1.11) or similar at practitioner (4.33 ± 0.80). Community pharmacies were chosen nearly twice as much than internet sources as first information point and assessed significant better regarding seriousness of information (p < 0.001). Food supplement advice (p = 0.004) and pain management (p = 0.012) were significantly better in hospital. The big majority of outcomes showed demand and usefulness of community pharmacists' support in cancer care. Matching these results of cancer reality analysis with previous literature research there is a reverse correlation between rising needs for community pharmacists' support in oncology reality and a shortage of investigation efforts on community pharmacists' interventions in the literature. There is still room for intensified research engagement into community pharmacists' unexhausted skills and both patients and professionals are open-minded to further approaches, such as home care services, medication check-ups or assistance regarding mental supply. Integration and schooling of community pharmacists in special fields of oncology outpatient assistance is necessary to maintain expert knowledge, reduce physicians' workload, limit costs of national health systems and finally enhance cancer patients' supply.",
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