Pharmacy Customers' Experiences With Electronic Prescriptions : Cross-Sectional Survey on Nationwide Implementation in Finland
Self archived versionpublished version
MetadataShow full item record
CitationLämsä, Elina. Timonen, Johanna. Ahonen, Riitta. (2018). Pharmacy Customers' Experiences With Electronic Prescriptions : Cross-Sectional Survey on Nationwide Implementation in Finland. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20 (2) , e68. 10.2196/jmir.9367.
Background: One of the forerunners in electronic health, Finland has introduced electronic prescriptions (ePrescriptions) nationwide by law. This has led to significant changes for pharmacy customers. Despite the worldwide ambition to develop ePrescription services, there are few reports of nationally adopted systems and particularly on the experiences of pharmacy customers.
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate Finnish pharmacy customers’ (1) experiences with purchasing medicines with ePrescriptions; (2) experiences with renewing ePrescriptions and acting on behalf of someone else at the pharmacy; (3) ways in which customers keep up to date with their ePrescriptions; and (4) overall satisfaction with ePrescriptions.
Methods: Questionnaires were distributed to 2913 pharmacy customers aged ≥18 years purchasing prescription medicines for themselves with an ePrescription in 18 community pharmacies across Finland in autumn 2015. Customers’ experiences were explored with 10 structured questions. The data were stored in SPSS for Windows and subjected to descriptive analysis, chi-square, Fisher exact, Kolmogorov-Smirnov, the Mann-Whitney U, and Kruskal-Wallis tests.
Results: Completed questionnaires were returned by 1288 customers, a response rate of 44.19% (1288/2913). The majority of the respondents did not encounter any problems during pharmacy visits (1161/1278, 90.85%) and were informed about the current status of their ePrescriptions after their medication was dispensed (1013/1276, 79.44%). Over half of the respondents had usually received a patient instruction sheet from their physician (752/1255, 59.92%), and nearly all of them regarded its content as clear (711/724, 98.2%). Half of the respondents had renewed their ePrescriptions through the pharmacy (645/1281, 50.35%), and one-third of them had acted on behalf of someone else with ePrescriptions (432/1280, 33.75%). Problems were rarely encountered in the renewal process (49/628, 7.8%) or when acting on behalf of another person (25/418, 6.0%) at the pharmacy. The most common way of keeping up to date with ePrescriptions was to ask at the pharmacy (631/1278, 49.37%). The vast majority of the respondents were satisfied with ePrescriptions as a whole (1221/1274, 95.84%).
Conclusions: Finnish pharmacy customers are satisfied with the recently implemented nationwide ePrescription system. They seldom have any difficulties purchasing medicines, renewing their ePrescriptions, or acting on behalf of someone else at the pharmacy. Customers usually keep up to date with their ePrescriptions by asking at the pharmacy. However, some customers are unaware of the practices or have difficulty keeping up to date with the status of their ePrescriptions. The provision of relevant information and assistance by health care professionals is therefore required to promote customers’ adoption of the ePrescription system.