How community pharmacists prioritize cognitive pharmaceutical services

Jeroen M van de Pol, Ellen S Koster, Anke M Hövels, Marcel L Bouvy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: There is broad consensus that community pharmacists should focus on the provision of pharmaceutical care. Studies, however, have shown that community pharmacists still spend a considerable amount of time on traditional activities such as dispensing instead of cognitive pharmaceutical services (CPS). It is not clear whether community pharmacists prefer their current time-utilization or if they are willing to spend more time on CPS.

AIM: The aim of this study was to identify how community pharmacists ideally would prioritize CPS compared to other daily activities.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study design with Q-methodology was used to identify different viewpoints regarding task prioritization. Community pharmacists were asked to rank a total of 48 daily activities. Data was collected online using FlashQ©. Q-sorts were analyzed by principal component factor analysis and varimax rotation using PQmethod 2.35.

RESULTS: In total, 166 community pharmacists participated in this study. Three distinguishing groups were found based on task prioritization explaining 59% of the total variance among respondents. All groups ranked the provision of CPS as important, in differing degrees. Group 1 ranked CPS as most important and was also the group that contained most participants. Group 2 and 3 ranked quality assurance as most important with CPS as second. Logistics and pharmacy management were ranked low by all groups.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Community pharmacists rank the provision of CPS as important. So factors, probably other than task prioritization, are keeping the pharmacist from focusing on CPS in daily practice. In other studies, time constraints are mostly mentioned as major barrier. Activities such as logistics and pharmacy management are given less priority and should be delegated to supporting staff members as much as possible, to enable pharmacists to focus their available time on activities they deem important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1088-1094
Number of pages7
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Time utilization
  • Q-methodology
  • Community pharmacy
  • Task prioritization
  • Cognitive pharmaceutical services


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