Pharma Focus Asia

Evaluation of retail pharmacists' perception on patient safety

Authors: Sivanandy Palanisamy, Tan Tyng Wei, Tan Wee Loon, Lim Chong Yee

Patient safety has become a focus of clinical care and research in recent years. However, the potential for medical care to cause harm has been appreciated throughout the history of medicine [1]. The safety culture of an organization is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies, and patterns of behavior that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organization's health and safety management.

It is important for healthcare organizations to establish a safety culture to ensure that patients are not inadvertently harmed by errors in the care that was supposed to heal them [2]. Main objectives of the cross-sectional study were to explore the attitude and perception of retail pharmacists in patient safety, to identify the strength and areas for patient safety improvement and to examine the current practice in patient safety in Malaysian retail pharmacy setup.

Malaysian registered pharmacists, working in the retail pharmacies in the study site and willing to participate in this survey, were included. Those who are not willing to participate and did not meet the inclusion criteria for the survey were excluded from the study. The study was carried out in Selangor, Malaysia. This Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety emphasizes patient and medication safety and quality-assurance issues. The survey includes 36 items measuring 11 composites.

In addition to the composites, the pharmacy survey includes three items about the frequency of documenting different types of mistakes, three items about respondent background characteristics, an overall rating question, and a section for open-ended comments. The survey has a total of 43 items [3]. It is a validated questionnaire used in many countries for assessing the patient safety in pharmacies. A total of 227 participants were included in the study, and 200 responded to the questionnaire survey and the response rate was found to be 88.1%. It includes 63 (31.5%) Senior and 137 (68.5%) Junior Pharmacists; 48 (24%) male and 152 (76%) female pharmacists.

Seventy two percent of pharmacists have more than 1 year of experience in retail pharmacy area and they are working more than 40 hours per week. We received more positive responses for the questionnaire; more than 92 percent of participants said their pharmacy is well organized, and staff were treating each other with respects. Eighty-three percent said staff were working together as an effective team and clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. In overall, 92 percent of the pharmacists said their organization is good in maintaining patient safety and achieved the patient safety grade.

Keywords Retail pharmacists; Patient safety; Perception; Malaysia; Survey

Citation: Sivanandy Palanisamy , Tan Tyng Wei, Tan Wee Loon, Lim Chong Yee Evaluation of retail pharmacists' perception on patient safety doi:10.1016/j.ajps.2015.11.085

Available online 25 November 2015

Copyright: © 2016 Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of Shenyang Pharmaceutical University. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


The authors acknowledge the financial support received from International Medical University (IMU), for their support and encouragement in carrying out this project.

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