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What do we mean by the integration of community pharmacy in the primary health care system?

  • At: PPR SIG 2021 (2021)
  • Type: Digital
  • By: URIONAGüENA, Amaia (Basque country university (UPV/EHU), Spain)
  • Co-author(s): Amaia Urionagüena, Celia Piquer-Martinez, Shalom I. Benrimoj, Begoña Calvo, Victoria García-Cardenas, Estibaliz Goyenechea, Fernando Fernández-Llimós, Fernando Martínez-Martínez, Miguel Ángel Gastelurrutia
  • Abstract:


    Community pharmacy is recognised as a supplier of medicines in health care systems. Despite lobbying by the profession there continues to be a lack of acceptance of community pharmacy as a patient-orientated health service provider. Recently there have been calls for the need to integrate community pharmacy in the primary health care system. However, the concept, definition, methodology or objectives associated with the policy and practice are unclear and confusing to policy decision makers and health care professionals. This especially valid post-COVID, when there will be in-depth examination of primary health care policies and practices.


    The objective was to gain an insight that supports the definition of the term “integration” within a framework for the integration of community pharmacy in health care systems.


    A manual search was undertaken looking at 20 years (2000-2021) of the major journal in the discipline, International Journal of Integrated Care (IJIC), followed by a systematic search in Pubmed using the following query: (((definition*[Title]) OR (glossary[Title])) OR (terms[Title])) AND (((\”Delivery of Health Care, Integrated\”[Mesh])) OR (integrated care[Title])).


    14 papers were retrieved from Pubmed and 50 from IJIC. An important heterogeneity among definitions was found, mainly dependant on whose perspective was taken, e.g., system, organisational, social, population and patient. However, common key concepts were identified, including: “bring together services”, “a continuum of services”; “coordination at different levels”; “coherent set of methods and models”, “connectivity”, “collaboration “; “creating common structure between independent stakeholders”. In addition, confusion in the use of the terms, “integration” and “integrated care “was evident in literature, with definitions being interchangeable and loosely used.


    There is a need to produce an accurate definition of integration of community pharmacy in health care systems that includes the key concepts identified, aiming to meet policy objectives.

Last update 4 October 2019

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