Atrial fibrillation screening in pharmacies using an iPhone ECG: a qualitative review of implementation

N. Lowres*, I. Krass, L. Neubeck, J. Redfern, A.J. McLachlan, A.A. Bennett, S.B. Freedman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background:

Atrial fibrillation guidelines advocate screening to identify undiagnosed atrial fibrillation. Community pharmacies may provide an opportunistic venue for such screening. 

Objective:

To explore the experience of implementing an atrial fibrillation screening service from the pharmacist’s perspective including: the process of study implementation; the perceived benefits; the barriers and enablers; and the challenges for future sustainability of atrial fibrillation screening within pharmacies. Setting Interviews were conducted face-to-face in the pharmacy or via telephone, according to pharmacist preference. 

Method:

The ‘SEARCH-AF study’ screened 1000 pharmacy customers aged ≥65 years using an iPhone electrocardiogram, identifying 1.5 % with undiagnosed atrial fibrillation. Nine pharmacists took part in semi-structured interviews. Interviews were transcribed in full and thematically analysed. Main outcome measure Qualitative analysis of the experience of implementing an AF screening service from the pharmacist’s perspective. 

Results:

Four broad themes relating to service provision were identified: (1) interest and engagement in atrial fibrillation screening by pharmacists, customers, and doctors with the novel, easy-to-use electrocardiogram technology serving as an incentive to undergo screening and an education tool for pharmacists to use with customers; (2) perceived benefits to the pharmacist including increased job satisfaction, improvement in customer relations and pharmacy profile by fostering enhanced customer care and the educational role of pharmacists; (3) implementation barriers including managing workflow, and enablers such as personal approaches for recruitment, and allocating time to discuss screening process and fears; and, (4) potential for sustainable future implementation including remuneration linked to government or pharmacy incentives, combined cardiovascular screening, and automating sections of risk-assessments using touch-screen technology.

Conclusion:

Atrial fibrillation screening in pharmacies is well accepted by pharmacists and customers. Many pharmacists combined atrial fibrillation screening with other health screens reporting improved time-efficiency and greater customer satisfaction. Widespread implementation of atrial fibrillation screening requires longterm funding, which could be provided for a combined cardiovascular screening service. Further research could focus on feasibility and cost-effectiveness of combined cardiovascular screening in pharmacies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1120
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Volume37
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Atrial fibrillation screening in pharmacies using an iPhone ECG: a qualitative review of implementation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this