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Pharmacist–patient counselling in Dubai: assessment and reflection on patient satisfaction
  1. Sahar Hussain1,
  2. Ali Al Sayed Hussain2,
  3. Kosar Hussain3,
  4. Mohammad Arfan Asif4,
  5. Marwa M Khalil5,
  6. Dalia Abdel Rahman6,
  7. Rima Charara6,
  8. Shaika Alsuwaidi7,
  9. Ragdha AlKhani6
  1. 1Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, UAE University, Al Ain, UAE
  2. 2Director, Pharmacy Department, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, UAE
  3. 3Department of Internal Medicine, Rashid Hospital, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, UAE
  4. 4Pharmacy Department, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, UAE
  5. 5Department of Community Medicine, Zagazig Medical College, Zagazig University, Zagazig, Egypt
  6. 6Dubai Pharmacy College, Dubai, UAE
  7. 7Pharmacy Department, Zayed Military Hospital, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sahar Hussain, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, UAE University, Al Ain, 15258, UAE; dr.saharhussain{at}


Objectives The aim of the present study was to evaluate the counselling services provided by outpatient pharmacists using the criteria specified by Medication Counseling Behaviour Guideline (US Pharmacopoeia (USP) 1997). The study also assessed the perceptions of patients and pharmacists with regard to counselling.

Methods The study was carried out over a period of 5 months at outpatient pharmacies located in different regions of Dubai. The study design included structured observation of over 700 pharmacist–patient encounters, and performances were assessed based on USP Medication Counseling Behaviour Guidelines. Over 1600 patient surveys and pharmacist questionnaires were also carried out/completed to investigate perceptions on counselling. Data was computed and analysed using bivariate analysis and logistic regression.

Results The majority of the pharmacist–patient interactions (72.1%) were classified as stage 1 of counselling (that is, the information exchanged was brief, basic and non-individualised). Less than 1% reached stage 4 (that is, a detailed, interactive and collaborative discussion). A significant correlation was found between the USP Medication Counseling Staging score and the pharmacists’ behaviour and communication assessment score. The overall mean patient satisfaction score was 4.71 (a score of 5 indicated most satisfied and 1 indicated least satisfied). Men, older patients and patients who considered the pharmacist to be competent and skilled were generally more satisfied with the consultations. Among patients with chronic conditions who came for medication refills, 41.8% believed that, although they needed counselling, it was not provided by the pharmacist. The majority of pharmacists cited the non-availability of a counselling room as the main barrier they encountered when counselling patients.

Conclusions This study identifies the strong need to educate and train pharmacists with better counselling skills and also to provide them with better resources.


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