Background and importance Innovative technologies, such as telepharmacy, have significantly affected patient safety, quality of life and lowered healthcare costs. Telepharmacy has the potential to improve the quality of pharmaceutical care services by decreasing medication errors and adverse drug events. Also, telepharmacy can provide benefits in rural areas and places with a lack of facilities and/or specialist services.
Aim and objectives To evaluate the pharmacist’s knowledge about the concept of telepharmacy, the skills required, the proper working environment and the attitude towards telepharmacy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and to recognise any association between demographic factors, knowledge and attitudes towards telepharmacy.
Material and methods A cross sectional multicentre study design was selected by a convenience sampling technique. An anonymous survey was carried out among pharmacists in nine governmental hospitals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A validated self-administered questionnaire was used for the survey to assess knowledge, perceptions and willingness to do telepharmacy. The data were analysed using SPSS V.25. Descriptive statistics, independent t test, the Kruskal–Wallis H test and one way ANOVA were performed.
Results The study achieved a final sample of 465 responses that were valid and complete, with a response rate of 66%. 76% of participants were women and 91% were aged <40 years. 58% of participants had a low level of knowledge about telepharmacy tools, while 37.7% of pharmacists believed that continuous training in telepharmacy was necessary for the workplace. 91.6% of the pharmacists who responded thought that using a telepharmacy system could save time and money. Substantial high positive attitudes towards telepharmacy were demonstrated (87% willingness, 87% perception), but knowledge was limited (58%). A strong association was found between gender perception and willingness (p value was 0.000, 0.009, respectively), and specialty with willingness (p=0.008). A statistically negative correlation was found between perception and gender (0.05 level using Pearson’s correlation).
Conclusion and relevance It is reasonable to believe that there is a potential for telepharmacy to be completely incorporated into the healthcare system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia if adequate education and training for pharmacists have been given, as knowledge measurement was relatively low. Improving pharmacists’ knowledge of telepharmacy is a key factor for effective implementation in the future.
References and/or acknowledgements
ASHP, ‘ASHP statement on telepharmacy,’ 2016.
Conflict of interest No conflict of interest
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