Background A significant proportion of individuals who suffer from major cardiovascular events every year have one or more risk factors. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment is an important strategy for the early identification of modifiable risk factors and their management. Shifting the focus from treatment to primary prevention is shown to reduce the burden associated with CVD.
Purpose To evaluate the overall preparedness of community pharmacists in (country X) for the provision of CVD risk assessment and management. Primary outcome measures: pharmacists’ competencies and preparedness (readiness to assess CVD risk). Secondary outcome measures: (i) pharmacists’ engagement (willingness to engage in a discussion about CVD risk factors); (ii) community pharmacy setting suitability; and (iii) pharmacists’ opinions on the barriers for provision of such services in community pharmacies.
Material and methods A cross sectional study of pharmacists working in community pharmacies was conducted. Simulated patients approached pharmacists, using a standardised scenario, for consultation on two medicines used for managing specific CVD risk factors. Scores for each outcome were obtained based on the number of predefined statements addressed by the pharmacist during the consultation (maximum scores; for engagement (7), for risk assessment (16), for management (8) and total score (31) points).
Results The mean total score was 11.68 points (SD 3.7). The mean for engagement, risk factor assessment and preparedness were 5.2 (SD 0.7), 3.03 (SD 2.3) and 3.5 (SD 1.7) points, respectively. Overall, 66% of pharmacists provided recommendations about the use of aspirin (19, 38%) and Crestor (14, 28%). Only 1 pharmacist performed a CVD risk calculation. Lack of support and lack of resources were the two main barriers for the provision of CVD risk assessment.
Conclusion Many pharmacists are missing the opportunity to provide CVD prevention services, such as CVD risk assessment, cardiovascular health advice and appropriate referrals to other healthcare providers to initiate appropriate risk factor management strategies. The results suggest the need for developing a training programme for improving community pharmacists’ knowledge and skills associated with CVD screening strategies and risk factor management.
Conflict of interest:
Corporate sponsored research or other substantive relationships: This work was made possible by a Qatar university internal grant (QUUG-CPH-CPH-15/16-3) awarded to Dr Monica Zolezzi. The statements made herein are solely the responsibility of the authors.
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