Involving patients as advisors in pharmacy practice research: what are the benefits?

Jane Sutton, Marjorie Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)


Objective: To describe the ways in which members of the public with a chronic condition were involved as advisors in a research project exploring pharmacist supplementary prescribing. The primary objective was to be able to reflect upon the benefits and difficulties of this approach so that the patient perspective can be accommodated more fully in future research.
Setting: University of Bath.
Method: Ten individuals were recruited from two clinical areas: a diabetes support group and a chronic lung disease group. None of the individuals had ever seen, or heard of, a pharmacist supplementary prescriber. They joined two members of the research team at each of six meetings held over a period of one year. This paper presents an ethnographic approach to the accounts of these meetings and reflects on the involvement of patients as members of the research team.
Key findings: Initially, the group was unaware of pharmacist prescribing and expressed a range of concerns. After gaining an understanding of pharmacist prescribing, they were able to influence the design and content of interview schedules and offered comments on completed interview transcripts. As the project progressed the patients began to take on a non-lay perspective of pharmacists, becoming more in favour of pharmacist prescribing over time. It may be useful in the future to introduce new patient members to such a group, from time to time, during the life of a project to maintain a lay or 'outside' perspective on key research issues. Nonetheless, the use of the patient group contributed to the direction and outcome of the study in a positive way and kept the project grounded in the patient's perspective.
Conclusion: We conclude that the benefits of including patients in the research process far outweigh the difficulties. Researchers are encouraged to adopt this approach in the future and listen to the patients but be clear about their role in the research process
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-238
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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