Pharmacists' roles in assisted reproductive technology

Mackay, Amanda M., Taylor, Selina M., and Glass, Beverley D. (2023) Pharmacists' roles in assisted reproductive technology. Exploratory Research in Clinical and Social Pharmacy, 12. 100376.

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Background: The global issue of infertility has prompted an increased reliance on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) for conception. In Australia, patients have previously accessed ART medications through specialist clinics, however recently due to modifications in ART medication subsidisation, community pharmacists now dispense and counsel patients on ART medications. Patients residing in rural and remote locations face challenges in accessing fertility clinics, which are primarily located in metropolitan and large regional cities. Objective: To investigate the perceived role, experience, confidence, and training requirements that pharmacists have in relation to providing ART medications and counselling to patients. Methods: Purposive sampling related to location of practice, pharmacist experience with ART and self-classification as an ART specialist was used to recruit 19 Australian pharmacists from rural, remote, large regional, and metropolitan areas, who participated in semi-structured interviews based on the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR). Interview transcriptions were transcribed, imported into NVivo, analysed using thematic analysis and mapped to CFIR domains and constructs. Results: Of the nineteen pharmacists interviewed, six were from rural and remote areas and thirteen were from metropolitan or large regional areas. Eight participants perceived themselves as specialist pharmacists in ART, all of which were in metropolitan or large regional locations. Three CFIR domains were identified as relevant for this study, which were further developed, with data mapped to eleven constructs under those domains. Emergent themes were identified that contributed to the pharmacist role including patient needs, external policies, fertility clinics, pharmacist experience and training, procuring ART, and the personal attributes of participants. Some constructs and themes differed between participants dependent on self-reported specialisation status and geographical location (e.g., self-efficacy), whereas others were consistent (e.g., knowledge and belief about the intervention). Pharmacists considered their role not to be limited to the supply and counselling of medication, but to also involve a support role for patients undergoing an emotionally difficult and sensitive journey, without guaranteed success. Conclusion: This study reveals the diverse role of Australian pharmacists in ART, influenced by location, experience, and confidence. Pharmacists have an important role to play in reducing barriers to ART access by offering fertility education, addressing concerns, providing medications and counselling, and monitoring patient well-being, improving outcomes for this cohort of patients particularly in rural and remote areas.

Item ID: 81421
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2667-2766
Keywords: ART, Fertility treatment, In vitro fertilisation, Infertility, IVF, Pharmacy, Remote, Rural, Specialist
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( nc-nd/4.0/).
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2024 00:10
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420305 Health and community services @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420303 Family care @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2099 Other health > 209999 Other health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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