Consumer Needs Project

Project Details
Project ID: RFT2010/11-01
Type: Commissioned
Status: Completed
Institution: PricewaterhouseCoopers
Chief Investigator: John Cannings

Project Summary

A key focus for Australia’s primary health care reform is to create a stronger primary health care system through the better coordination of care for consumers. Community pharmacy can play a pivotal role in this model as one of the most frequently accessed primary health care services. In order to inform the further development of consumer-focused policy in relation to community pharmacy services, consumer needs, expectations and experiences must be better understood.

The objectives of the Consumer Needs project were to:

  • develop, implement and pilot an appropriate methodology to inform policy related decisions on a population health basis to identify consumer needs, expectations and experiences of community pharmacy services, and
  • develop and validate a tool to measure consumer health impact and outcomes sensitive to the community pharmacy context.

The project included the following key activities:

  1. Stakeholder consultation
  2. Literature review
  3. Community survey of 3000 participants
  4. Focus groups with 106 consumers
  5. Development and validation of a measurement tool

A baseline understanding of consumer experience and expectation was established through the project. A tool was developed and validated which explores four core domains – demographic and health information, utilisation of community pharmacy services, attitudes and beliefs around medicines (including self-efficacy around medicines), and the impact of community pharmacy on consumers, both in terms of overall consumer satisfaction and the impact of pharmacy on the health literacy of consumers. This tool can be used in the future to better understand consumer need and the impact of community pharmacy services.

The key areas of focus for community pharmacy in the future, to better address consumer need, include: Greater services in the pharmacy to meet consumer needs and improved communication about what the pharmacy can offer; greater differentiation from supermarkets; greater privacy in community pharmacy; and improved integration with other health service providers.