Relationship between performance barriers and pharmacist competency towards the implementation of an expanded public health pharmacy role.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between performance barriers and competency, and implementation of an expanded public health role for community pharmacists.

METHODS: A validated questionnaire was utilised for this study whereby three variables of the study (performance barriers, competency and public health role) were measured using a 5-point Likert scale. Three hundred questionnaires were distributed to target respondents of registered community pharmacies in five states (Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak and Penang) in Malaysia. The data were analysed utilising the principles of structural equation modelling.

KEY FINDINGS: There were 191 completed and usable responses received, which represented a 66.7% response rate. This study showed perceived competency had a direct relationship with delivering a general public health role. A perceived lack of competency was shown to be a barrier to fulfilling a public health role. However, other factors, such as design of premises, IT infrastructure and pay, were not viewed as barriers to carrying out a public health role.

CONCLUSION: Perceived competency is an obstacle for community pharmacists to undertake a public health role in Malaysia. Adequate training programmes in pharmaceutical public health have to be put in place to address this concern and this should therefore be a priority.