Medication supply and management in rural Queensland: Views of key informants in health service provision
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Background: Rural settings challenge health care providers to provide optimal medication services in a manner that is timely and of high quality. Extending the roles of rural health care providers is often necessary to improve access to medication services; however, there appears to be a lack of pharmacy-based involvement and support within the medication system. Objectives: This article explores medication supply and management issues in rural settings, based on the governance perspectives of key informants on regulatory aspects, policy, and professional practice. The specific objectives were to (1) identify the key issues and existing facilitators and (2) explore the potential roles of pharmacy to improve medication supply and management services. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with representatives within regulatory or professional organizations. The participants were key informants who held leadership and/or managerial roles within their respective organizations and were recruited to provide insights from a governance perspective before data collection in the community. An interview guide, informed by the literature, assisted the flow of interviews, exploring topics, such as key issues, existing initiatives, and potential pharmacy-based facilitators, in relation to medication supply and management in rural settings.Results: Issues identified that hindered the provision of optimal medication supply and management services in the rural areas centered on workforce, interprofessional communication, role structures, and funding opportunities. Legislative and electronic developments and support mechanisms aim to facilitate medication processes in rural areas. Potential initiatives to further enhance medication services and processes could explore extended roles for pharmacists and pharmacy support staff, as well as alternative service delivery models to enhance pharmacy workforce capacity. Conclusions: The study provided an overview of key issues with medication supply and management and highlighted the potential for increased pharmacy involvement to improve and support medication services in rural areas. The governance views of these key informants could be used to inform policy and practice related to rural medication services.
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