Background: Community pharmacy is shifting its focus from traditional, product-focused roles to the provision of cognitive pharmaceutical services (CPS). Previous research has indicated that community pharmacists predominantly want to devote their capacity to CPS. Ideally, services provided also address users' needs. The general public's preferences regarding the services provided by community pharmacists are currently less understood.
Aim: This study investigates the general public's preferences and perceived importance of CPS versus convenience in community pharmacy practice.
Method: An online survey of 1.500 members of the Dutch Health Care Consumer Panel containing questions regarding preferences for CPS and convenience was distributed. Descriptive statistics and linear regression analysis were performed to investigate the relationship between preferences and participant characteristics.
Results: 516 panel members completed all questions regarding preferences and importance of the availability of services. The majority preferred convenience (68.2%) and a smaller proportion preferred CPS (27.7%). However, participants considered it important from a societal viewpoint that CPS is provided (45.0%). Participants who preferred CPS over convenience were generally older (p < 0.001) and used more medicines (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Convenience of community pharmacy services is most preferred by the general public. However, CPS is perceived as important, especially for elderly who use more medicines. Elderly patients who use more medicines more often rate CPS as more important than convenience. These findings suggest that community pharmacists should ensure that pharmacy logistics are organized efficiently before focusing on the provision of CPS.