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Keywords:

  • continuous positive airway pressure;
  • obstructive sleep apnoea;
  • pharmacy;
  • primary health care;
  • quality of health care

Abstract

Background and objective

Little is known about CPAP services offered in the Australian primary care pharmacy setting, despite the potential influence of service quality on patient adherence. The objective of this study was to provide an overview on a nationwide scale of the range and quality of CPAP and sleep apnoea-related services in Australian pharmacies.

Methods

A paper-based questionnaire was developed and mailed to all pharmacies in Australia that currently provide CPAP services (as identified by manufacturer's distributor lists or Internet search). A point system was devised to score participants on the quality of their CPAP service. Pharmacies were rated against a list of 23 criteria that were determined by consensus, with one point allocated for each criterion met, allowing for a maximum score of 23.

Results

The study response rate was 55% (110/199), and representation was obtained from all eight Australian states and territories. The mean number of criteria met (total score) for pharmacies was 15.7 ± 3.4 (15.7/23 = 68.3%; score range 2–22). Variability was evident in the range of services offered. Eighty-seven per cent of respondents believed that pharmacies supplying CPAP should adhere to a formalized set of professional guidelines.

Conclusions

The accessibility of pharmacies may make them a valuable venue for CPAP service provision. However, models of care to guide practice and standardize the variability in services are required. Implementation of such models could improve patient access to quality treatment in the primary care setting.