Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has become a significant risk factor that threatens public health. Many studies have confirmed that the professional services for COPD patients by community pharmacists can improve comprehensive benefits. However, there’s less research investigating the factors affecting community pharmacists’ knowledge about COPD management. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the knowledge of COPD among community pharmacists in China and analyze the factors affecting community pharmacist’s knowledge about COPD management.
This study employed a face-to-face, self-administered questionnaire survey targeting community pharmacists from three cities (Nanjing, Zhuhai, Qingyang) in China. Descriptive statistics, t-test and one-way ANOVA were used for data analysis.
Out of the 794 pharmacists surveyed, 177 (22.3%) were completed and valid. The majority (91.0%) of participants had a positive attitude they were responsible for assisting patients to control the disease progression. Among 12 knowledge-related survey questions, only 34 (19.2%) pharmacists answered more than half of them correctly, showing that overall knowledge level of participants was generally low. The overall knowledge level was significantly ( P < 0.05) associated with higher academic education, on-the-job training, and pharmacies selling drugs for treating COPD. Regarding medical knowledge, participants got higher accuracy rates at some questions as the symptoms of COPD and identifying the main causative factors but were weak in disease characteristics and guidelines for disease diagnosis. As for medication, participants had a certain understanding of different drugs for COPD and their adverse reactions. For non-drug treatment, participants could not entirely choose the best non-drug treatment for patients, while most of them recognize the importance of pulmonary rehabilitation.
This research indicated that community pharmacists in China lacked sufficient knowledge about COPD management. It is necessary to improve university education, strengthen on-the-job training, adjust the social insurance system, and develop service guidelines for licensed pharmacists to support their professional services for COPD patients.