Ward, Paul R., Bissell, Paul and Noyce, Peter R. (2000) Criteria for assessing the appropriateness of patient counseling in community pharmacies. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 34 (2). pp. 170-175. ISSN 1060-0280

Objective: To develop valid, reliable criteria for assessing the appropriateness of the management of common ailments and nonprescription drug therapy in community pharmacies in the UK.

Methods: The criteria were developed by an expert panel using the nominal group technique. The validity of the criteria was tested by surveying a random sample of pharmacists who were asked to rate the importance of each criterion on a semantic differential scale from 1 (low) to 7 (high). Subsequently, the reliability of the criteria was assessed: a random sample of pharmacists were each asked to apply the criteria to four vignettes of patient counseling on two separate occasions.

Results: All assessment criteria exceeded our predefined level of face, content, and consensual validity. In reliability testing, the overall assessment of appropriateness, along with five component assessment criteria, surpassed our predefined level of reliability. Three criteria, however, did not meet our predefined standard. These criteria were rational content of advice, rational product choice, and referral to another health professional.

Conclusions: This represents the first systematic attempt to develop an instrument of general applicability for assessing the appropriateness of patient counseling and to subject it to rigorous validity and reliability testing. We suggest that further work is required to refine the criteria that did not meet reliability standards and to understand the decision-making processes underlying the assessment of vignettes of patient counseling.

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