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Keywords:

  • attitudes;
  • hospital;
  • Palestine;
  • pharmacists;
  • physicians

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the perceptions, expectations and experiences of physicians with regard to hospital-based pharmacists in the West Bank, Palestine.

Methods

A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 250 physicians practising in four general hospitals in the West Bank, Palestine. The main sections of the questionnaire comprised a series of statements pertaining to physicians' perceptions, expectations and experiences with pharmacists.

Key findings

One hundred and fifty seven questionnaires were completed and returned (response rate, 62.8%). The majority of respondents were most comfortable with pharmacists detecting and preventing prescription errors (76.4%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 69.5–81.2%) and patient education (57.9%; CI 51.2–63.4%) but they were not comfortable with pharmacists suggesting the use of prescription medications to patients (56.7%; CI 49.8–62.4%). Most physicians (62.4%; CI 56.8–69.1%) expected the pharmacist to educate their patients about the safe and appropriate use of their medication. However, approximately one-third (31.7%; CI 26.0–39.6%) did not expect pharmacists to be available for consultation during rounds. Physicians' experiences with pharmacists were less favourable; whereas 77% (CI 70.2–81.5%) of the physicians agreed that pharmacists were always a reliable source of information, only 11.5% (CI 6.2–16.4%) agreed that pharmacists appeared to be willing to take responsibility for solving any drug-related problems.

Conclusion

The present study showed that hospital physicians are more likely to accept traditional pharmacy services than newer clinical services for hospital-based pharmacists in the West Bank, Palestine. Pharmacists should therefore interact more positively and more frequently with physicians. This will close the gap between the physicians' commonly held perceptions of what they expect pharmacists to do and what pharmacists can actually do, and gain support for an extended role of hospital-based pharmacists in future patient therapy management.