Performance and Perceptions: Evaluation of Pharmacy Students' Consultation via Telepharmacy
Skoy, Elizabeth T.
Eukel, Heidi N.
Frenzel, Jeanne Elizabeth
Schmitz, Tara M.
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Background: Pharmacy education standards highlight the importance of effective communication skills and the use of technology to provide patient care. As technology evolves, pharmacists have opportunities to communicate in different and broader ways.Objective: The objectives of this study were 3-fold: to evaluate student ability to counsel via telepharmacy, to determine if there is a difference in students’ abilities to counsel face-to-face or via telepharmacy, and to determine students’ perceptions regarding patient consultation via telepharmacy.Methods: Professional pharmacy students completed a pharmaceutical care laboratory activity focused on communication via telepharmacy. Comparisons were made between students’ ability to provide patient consultation via telepharmacy and face-to-face utilizing a faculty-developed rubric. Students also completed a questionnaire on their perception of utilizing telepharmacy technology to provide patient consultation.Results: Eighty-two second-year professional pharmacy students participated in the study. Results showed students are able to successfully provide patient consultation via telepharmacy without prior practice; however, there was a statistically significant difference between students’ ability to counsel face-to-face and via telepharmacy (P < .001). Overall, students were more successful at providing face-to-face consultation than via telepharmacy, and students who were first assessed on their ability to counsel face-to-face perceived a greater difference between telepharmacy and face-to-face consultation (P < .05).Conclusion: Student-perceived differences between the 2 means of consultation and demonstrated a difference in their ability to counsel via telepharmacy and face-to-face. It appears that, when evaluating the need to teach professional pharmacy students how to provide patient consultation via telepharmacy, additional exposure to telepharmacy technology could be beneficial by enhancing student comfort and proficiency.