Managing Minor Ailments: The Public’s Preferences for Attributes of Community Pharmacies. A Discrete Choice Experiment

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Abstract

Background

Demand for health services continues to rise. Greater use of community pharmacy services instead of medical services for minor ailments could help relieve pressure on healthcare providers in high-cost settings. Community pharmacies are recognised sources of treatment and advice for people wishing to manage these ailments. However, increasing the public’s use of pharmacy services may depend on attributes of pharmacies and their staff. This study aimed to determine the general public’s relative preferences for community pharmacy attributes using a discrete choice experiment (DCE).

Method

A UK-wide DCE survey of the general public was conducted using face-to-face computer-assisted personal interviews. Attributes and levels for the DCE were informed by a literature review and a cohort study of community pharmacy customers. The context for the experiment was a minor ailment scenario describing flu-like symptoms. The DCE choice sets described two hypothetical community pharmacy services; respondents were asked to choose which (if either) of the two pharmacies they would prefer to help them manage symptoms. Data from 1,049 interviews were analysed using an error components logit model. Willingness to pay (WTP), a monetary measure of benefit, was estimated for the different attribute levels.

Results

When seeking help or treatment for flu-like symptoms, respondents most valued a pharmacy service that would improve their understanding and management of symptoms (WTP = £6.28), provided by staff who are trained (WTP (pharmacist) = £2.63: WTP(trained assistant) = £3.22), friendly and approachable (WTP = £3.38). Waiting time, pharmacy location and availability of parking also contributed to respondents’ preferences. WTP for a service comprising the best possible combination of attributes and levels was calculated as £55.43.

Conclusion

Attributes of a community pharmacy and its staff may influence people’s decisions about which pharmacy they would visit to access treatment and advice for minor ailments. In line with the public’s preferences, offering community pharmacy services that help people to better understand and manage symptoms, are provided promptly by trained staff who are friendly and approachable, and in a local setting with easy access to parking, has the potential to increase uptake amongst those seeking help to manage minor ailments. In this way it may be possible to shift demand away from high-cost health services and make more efficient use of scarce public resources.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0152257
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalPloS ONE
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2016

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willingness to pay
Pharmacies
Community Pharmacy Services
community service
health services
Parking
human influenza
Pharmaceutical Services
Experiments
Health Services
Health
interviews
Interviews
Costs and Cost Analysis
Microcomputers
logit analysis
Costs
cohort studies
Pharmacists
Health Personnel

Cite this

@article{98b89b35b6b745c992eb59b78884b816,
title = "Managing Minor Ailments: The Public’s Preferences for Attributes of Community Pharmacies. A Discrete Choice Experiment",
abstract = "BackgroundDemand for health services continues to rise. Greater use of community pharmacy services instead of medical services for minor ailments could help relieve pressure on healthcare providers in high-cost settings. Community pharmacies are recognised sources of treatment and advice for people wishing to manage these ailments. However, increasing the public’s use of pharmacy services may depend on attributes of pharmacies and their staff. This study aimed to determine the general public’s relative preferences for community pharmacy attributes using a discrete choice experiment (DCE).MethodA UK-wide DCE survey of the general public was conducted using face-to-face computer-assisted personal interviews. Attributes and levels for the DCE were informed by a literature review and a cohort study of community pharmacy customers. The context for the experiment was a minor ailment scenario describing flu-like symptoms. The DCE choice sets described two hypothetical community pharmacy services; respondents were asked to choose which (if either) of the two pharmacies they would prefer to help them manage symptoms. Data from 1,049 interviews were analysed using an error components logit model. Willingness to pay (WTP), a monetary measure of benefit, was estimated for the different attribute levels.ResultsWhen seeking help or treatment for flu-like symptoms, respondents most valued a pharmacy service that would improve their understanding and management of symptoms (WTP = £6.28), provided by staff who are trained (WTP (pharmacist) = £2.63: WTP(trained assistant) = £3.22), friendly and approachable (WTP = £3.38). Waiting time, pharmacy location and availability of parking also contributed to respondents’ preferences. WTP for a service comprising the best possible combination of attributes and levels was calculated as £55.43.ConclusionAttributes of a community pharmacy and its staff may influence people’s decisions about which pharmacy they would visit to access treatment and advice for minor ailments. In line with the public’s preferences, offering community pharmacy services that help people to better understand and manage symptoms, are provided promptly by trained staff who are friendly and approachable, and in a local setting with easy access to parking, has the potential to increase uptake amongst those seeking help to manage minor ailments. In this way it may be possible to shift demand away from high-cost health services and make more efficient use of scarce public resources.",
author = "Terry Porteous and Mandy Ryan and Christine Bond and Margaret Watson and Verity Watson",
note = "Acknowledgements We thank members of the wider study steering group (Dr Karen Gerard, Dr Ben Craig and Mr Ron Marsh) for their input to the study design, and all respondents who completed the survey. Funding: This work was funded by Medical Research Council MR/J004812/1 to VW (www.mrc.ac.uk), and Pharmacy Research UK 1076457 to MW (www.pharmacyresearchuk.org/). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.",
year = "2016",
month = "3",
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doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0152257",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
pages = "1--15",
journal = "PloS ONE",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Managing Minor Ailments

T2 - The Public’s Preferences for Attributes of Community Pharmacies. A Discrete Choice Experiment

AU - Porteous, Terry

AU - Ryan, Mandy

AU - Bond, Christine

AU - Watson, Margaret

AU - Watson, Verity

N1 - Acknowledgements We thank members of the wider study steering group (Dr Karen Gerard, Dr Ben Craig and Mr Ron Marsh) for their input to the study design, and all respondents who completed the survey. Funding: This work was funded by Medical Research Council MR/J004812/1 to VW (www.mrc.ac.uk), and Pharmacy Research UK 1076457 to MW (www.pharmacyresearchuk.org/). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

PY - 2016/3/31

Y1 - 2016/3/31

N2 - BackgroundDemand for health services continues to rise. Greater use of community pharmacy services instead of medical services for minor ailments could help relieve pressure on healthcare providers in high-cost settings. Community pharmacies are recognised sources of treatment and advice for people wishing to manage these ailments. However, increasing the public’s use of pharmacy services may depend on attributes of pharmacies and their staff. This study aimed to determine the general public’s relative preferences for community pharmacy attributes using a discrete choice experiment (DCE).MethodA UK-wide DCE survey of the general public was conducted using face-to-face computer-assisted personal interviews. Attributes and levels for the DCE were informed by a literature review and a cohort study of community pharmacy customers. The context for the experiment was a minor ailment scenario describing flu-like symptoms. The DCE choice sets described two hypothetical community pharmacy services; respondents were asked to choose which (if either) of the two pharmacies they would prefer to help them manage symptoms. Data from 1,049 interviews were analysed using an error components logit model. Willingness to pay (WTP), a monetary measure of benefit, was estimated for the different attribute levels.ResultsWhen seeking help or treatment for flu-like symptoms, respondents most valued a pharmacy service that would improve their understanding and management of symptoms (WTP = £6.28), provided by staff who are trained (WTP (pharmacist) = £2.63: WTP(trained assistant) = £3.22), friendly and approachable (WTP = £3.38). Waiting time, pharmacy location and availability of parking also contributed to respondents’ preferences. WTP for a service comprising the best possible combination of attributes and levels was calculated as £55.43.ConclusionAttributes of a community pharmacy and its staff may influence people’s decisions about which pharmacy they would visit to access treatment and advice for minor ailments. In line with the public’s preferences, offering community pharmacy services that help people to better understand and manage symptoms, are provided promptly by trained staff who are friendly and approachable, and in a local setting with easy access to parking, has the potential to increase uptake amongst those seeking help to manage minor ailments. In this way it may be possible to shift demand away from high-cost health services and make more efficient use of scarce public resources.

AB - BackgroundDemand for health services continues to rise. Greater use of community pharmacy services instead of medical services for minor ailments could help relieve pressure on healthcare providers in high-cost settings. Community pharmacies are recognised sources of treatment and advice for people wishing to manage these ailments. However, increasing the public’s use of pharmacy services may depend on attributes of pharmacies and their staff. This study aimed to determine the general public’s relative preferences for community pharmacy attributes using a discrete choice experiment (DCE).MethodA UK-wide DCE survey of the general public was conducted using face-to-face computer-assisted personal interviews. Attributes and levels for the DCE were informed by a literature review and a cohort study of community pharmacy customers. The context for the experiment was a minor ailment scenario describing flu-like symptoms. The DCE choice sets described two hypothetical community pharmacy services; respondents were asked to choose which (if either) of the two pharmacies they would prefer to help them manage symptoms. Data from 1,049 interviews were analysed using an error components logit model. Willingness to pay (WTP), a monetary measure of benefit, was estimated for the different attribute levels.ResultsWhen seeking help or treatment for flu-like symptoms, respondents most valued a pharmacy service that would improve their understanding and management of symptoms (WTP = £6.28), provided by staff who are trained (WTP (pharmacist) = £2.63: WTP(trained assistant) = £3.22), friendly and approachable (WTP = £3.38). Waiting time, pharmacy location and availability of parking also contributed to respondents’ preferences. WTP for a service comprising the best possible combination of attributes and levels was calculated as £55.43.ConclusionAttributes of a community pharmacy and its staff may influence people’s decisions about which pharmacy they would visit to access treatment and advice for minor ailments. In line with the public’s preferences, offering community pharmacy services that help people to better understand and manage symptoms, are provided promptly by trained staff who are friendly and approachable, and in a local setting with easy access to parking, has the potential to increase uptake amongst those seeking help to manage minor ailments. In this way it may be possible to shift demand away from high-cost health services and make more efficient use of scarce public resources.

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0152257

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0152257

M3 - Article

VL - 11

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EP - 15

JO - PloS ONE

JF - PloS ONE

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 3

M1 - 0152257

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