On April 1, 2007, community pharmacists in Ontario began providing a new medication review service called MedsCheck. MedsCheck is intended to help patients better understand their medication therapy, ensure that medications are being taken as prescribed and establish a medication history. This study explored the initial experiences with MedsCheck and identified barriers to and facilitators of the implementation of the service.
This was a sequential, explanatory, mixed-methods study. Community pharmacists practising in Hamilton, Ontario, completed a semi-structured mailed survey. A subsample of participants also participated in a semi-structured telephone interview.
A total of 88 pharmacists returned the survey and 13 participated in an interview. Respondents reported that it took an average of 30 minutes (standard deviation 11.2; range 10–60 minutes) to complete a MedsCheck. Barriers to providing the service included lack of time, physical space and patient awareness of and interest in the service. Facilitators included pharmacist overlap coverage, scheduling reviews during slower times, personally inviting patients to participate, reducing paperwork and using electronic or paper-based tools.
The MedsCheck program was well received. However, numerous barriers to its implementation were identified, most notably lack of time and a workflow that is not conducive to an appointment-based, 30-minute service. Further research suggests this time estimate may be low. Changes within the pharmacy could improve the implementation of this service.
This study provided information on how to facilitate the implementation of MedsCheck. The results of this study can help pharmacists to improve the delivery of MedsCheck or similar services in community pharmacies.