Impact of a blended learning program on community pharmacists’ barriers, knowledge, and counseling practice with regard to preconception, pregnancy and lactation

Michael Ceulemans*, Sophie Liekens, Kristel Van Calsteren, Karel Allegaert, Veerle Foulon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Community pharmacists acknowledge to have an important role in providing pharmaceutical care during preconception, pregnancy and lactation. However, pharmacists’ knowledge and counseling regarding this topic is still insufficient. Hence, educational initiatives are urgently needed. Objectives: To assess the impact of a blended learning program (‘intervention’) on community pharmacists' barriers, knowledge, and counseling practice with regard to preconception, pregnancy and lactation. Methods: A pre-post study was performed in collaboration with 40 randomly selected pharmacies belonging to a large pharmacy chain in Belgium. All pharmacists employed in these pharmacies were eligible to participate in a blended learning program consisting of an e-learning and an on-site training day. Data were collected using online surveys, mystery shopping visits and pharmacy records. Pharmacy conversations were assessed on information gathering, dispensed product, and case-specific information. A retention knowledge test was completed 3–6 months after the intervention. Results: In total, 60 pharmacists completed the post-intervention surveys (response rate: 95%). The total number of barriers decreased after the intervention, while organizational barriers such as lack of privacy (73%) and lack of time (67%) became more prevalent. Pharmacists’ short and long-term knowledge improved after the intervention (p ≤ 0.001), although knowledge declined again over time (p ≤ 0.001). During counseling, pharmacists more often spontaneously provided information about folic acid when dispensing a pregnancy test, and more often suggested the correct dose/dosage for the dispensed OTC-product against pregnancy-related nausea. However, poor information gathering, dosing errors and incomplete information were still observed. Conclusion: The blended learning decreased pharmacists' barriers and improved their short- and long-term knowledge, while counseling practice only partially improved. Hence, the blended learning was insufficient to enhance pharmacists’ information gathering competences and to fully implement pharmaceutical care services with regard to preconception, pregnancy and lactation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242-1249
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Volume17
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The ECTOPIC-study was supported by companies Tilman, Kela Pharma, Metagenics, Boiron, Mithra, and IxxPharma. None of them were involved in study design, data collection, data analysis, interpretation of data, writing the manuscript, and submission of the article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.

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