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Communication about drug-related problems (DRPs) during patients’ visits to Dutch physicians and pharmacies.

Huiskes, V.J.B., Cramer-van der Welle, C., Ende, C.H.M. van den, Dijk, L. van, Bos, J.M., Kramers, C., Bemt, B.J.F. van den. Communication about drug-related problems (DRPs) during patients’ visits to Dutch physicians and pharmacies. Health Communication: 2020, 35(2), 201-208
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Objective
The objective of this study is to assess the frequency and type of drug-related problems (DRPs):
(1) raised and discussed
(2) raised but not discussed
(3) not raised during patients’ visits to healthcare practitioners (HCPs).

Methods
In this cross-sectional study in Dutch outpatient clinics, GP practices and pharmacies, verbal cues from patients and HCPs indicating DRPs were inventoried by an observer during visits. It was also observed whether raised DRPs were discussed between patient and HCP. Post-encounter interviews (HCPs) were conducted and post-encounter questionnaires (patient) were distributed to identify DRPs not raised. In total, 431 patients were observed during a single visit. In 42.2% of these visits, 311 DRPs were raised (weighted mean (SD) 0.7 (±1.1) DRP/patient). Of these 311 DRPs, 82.0% were discussed between HCP and patient.

Results
HCPs did not raise existing DRPs in 3.9% of the 431 visits; in 6.3% of the 176 questionnaires the patient reported an existing DRP that had not been raised. In conclusion, almost one in six of the DRPs raised during visits are not discussed between HCP and patient. Furthermore, existing DRPs are not even raised in 4–6% of the visits.

Conclusions
HCPs and patients should be aware that, although patients often have DRPs, these are not always discussed or not even raised during patients’ visits.