Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

Quality of Care

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

Patients base their satisfaction with pharmacy care on their social interaction with the pharmacist, not technical quality

Pharmacists are moving away from their traditional role as drug dispensers to a new role as full-fledged members of the health care team providing direct, patient-centered care. Consequently, pharmacists are interested in demonstrating that pharmaceutical care improves the quality of care provided to patients and ultimately patient outcomes, including satisfaction with care. However, patients typically rate the pharmacy care they receive not on the technical quality of the care, which they may not be qualified to judge, but on their social interaction with the pharmacist.

For example, a recent study found that more than 65 percent of asthma patients reported that they had recently received basic monitoring services (39 percent) or comprehensive disease management services (26 percent) from their pharmacist. Yet patients who received higher levels of pharmaceutical care expressed no more confidence in their pharmacist's ability to help them manage their asthma than did those who received lower levels of care. On the other hand, patients who said their pharmacist was courteous and gave them prompt personal attention were more likely to believe their pharmacist was able to help them manage and prevent asthma-related problems. Personal attention from the pharmacist (personal and prompt attention to requests, willingness to spend time, and friendliness) was clearly the most important factor in their satisfaction with pharmacy care and their belief that the pharmacist was able to help them manage their condition and prevent asthma-related problems.

Given their new role, pharmacists should increase patients' awareness of the value of pharmaceutical care services, so that a pharmacist's competence, not just friendliness, affects patient satisfaction with pharmaceutical care, conclude L. Douglas Ried, Ph.D., and colleagues at the College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville. In the study, supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS08221), they surveyed 145 adult patients with asthma enrolled in the pharmacy clinics of two Florida managed care organizations about their satisfaction with pharmaceutical care services.

See "Patients' satisfaction and their perception of the pharmacist," by Dr. Ried, Feng Wang, M.D., Henry Young, and Ratanaporn Awiphan, in the November/December 1999 Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association 30(6), pp. 835-842.

Return to Contents
Proceed to Next Article

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care