Clinical pharmacokinetics: perceptions of hospital pharmacists in Qatar about how it was taught and how it is applied
Background: The application of clinical pharmacokinetics (PK) is essential when providing pharmaceutical care. Appropriate application of PK monitoring results in improved patient outcomes including decreased mortality, length of treatment, length of hospital stay, and adverse effects of drug therapy. Despite the well-documented evidence of benefits of clinical PK services, many pharmacists find it challenging to apply PK in clinical practice.
Objective: To evaluate pharmacists' training backgrounds, attitude, practices, and perceived barriers pertaining to the application of PK in clinical practice in Qatar.
Setting: All hospitals under Hamad Medical Corporation, the main healthcare provider in Qatar.
Methodology: This was a cross-sectional, descriptive study that was conducted between October 2012 and January 2013, using a self-administered web-based survey. Pharmacists were eligible to participate if they: (1) were working as full-time hospital pharmacists and; (2) have been in practice for at least 1 year.
Main outcome measures: PK contents learned in undergraduate curriculum; perception towards the PK contents and instructions received in the undergraduate curriculum and; application of PK in current clinical practice.
Results: A total of 112 pharmacists responded to the questionnaire. The majority of the respondents (n = 91; 81.3 %) reported that they had received PK course(s) in their undergraduate curriculum. Similarly, the majority (70-80 %) of them agreed that the undergraduate PK courses or contents they received were important and relevant to their current practice. The pharmacists identified spending more time on dispensing and inventory issues rather than clinical practice, scarce resources, and manual rather than computerized PK calculations as some of the barriers they encountered in learning about PK and its application. The characteristics of the surveyed pharmacists such as gender, age, highest academic degree, and country of graduation did not influence the pharmacists' perception and attitudes towards PK teaching and application (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: PK course contents were perceived to lack depth and relevance to practice, and pharmacist had no experiential training that included aspects of PK. These, and other issues, result in poor application of PK in practice.