The effect of pharmacist telephone counselling (PTC) on patients initiating cardiovascular medication
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Background: Initiating new chronic cardiovascular medication can be difficult, especially with different healthcare providers and the appliance to a home setting. Therefore, pharmacist telephone counseling (PTC), where a new chronic user of cardiovascular medication receives a phone call within the first two weeks of the first prescription fill, can offer a great benefit for these patients at the start of their new therapy. In the Netherlands, no such service was available until now. Objective To evaluate the effect of PTC on patient reported outcome measurements (PROMs) in patients with new chronic cardiovascular medication. Methods: A descriptive study was performed in 14 Dutch community pharmacies and one outpatient pharmacy in Almere, The Netherlands. In total, three patient groups participated in study: the PTC group (n=406), the non-PTC group (n=455) and the usual care group (n=189). In the PTC group, selected patients by the outpatient pharmacy received a PTC from the community pharmacist within 2 weeks after drug prescription. One day after the PTC two questionnaires about medication understanding and use Self-Efficacy (MUSE) and Satisfaction with information About Medicines Scale (SIMS) were conducted with the patients. The non-PTC group did not receive a pharmacist counseling and did not answered the SIMS and MUSE questionnaires. In the usual care group, patients received the questionnaires three months prior to the start of the intervention. Results: Out of the 406 patients who received a PTC, 71.2% reported one or more problems with their new cardiovascular medication during PTC. Moreover, the pharmacist provided 75.1% of the PTC patients with recommendations. Additionally, the results of the SIMS and MUSE both showed a higher score in the PTC group, respectively 11.68 vs 9.28 on a 15-point SIMS score and 85.8% vs 66.9% scored ‘Good’ on the MUSE questionnaire. Conclusion: The PTC showed a great number of problems patients still have after their first cardiovascular prescription. Next to this, the pharmacist was able to provide three-quarter of the patients with (unasked) recommendations about their medication. This led to higher scores in the questionnaires about satisfaction on received medication information and medication understanding and self-efficacy.