This study was designed to explore patient perceptions of sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening and treatment provided by a pharmacist in an urban free health clinic. With health care reform on the horizon, the role of a pharmacist is quickly evolving, making it necessary for pharmacists to sharpen their clinical skills to accurately serve their patients. One in 4 American adolescents is infected with an STI, placing pharmacists in a position to help decrease STI transmission and complications.
To assess patient attitudes toward pharmacists as STI providers, a convenience sample of patients who presented to an urban free health clinic in 2009 for STI testing were given a confidential survey of 12 statements relating to STI testing and the acceptability of a pharmacist-provider.
Patients expressed overwhelming support of a pharmacist as their STI treatment provider (79.9%). The services they were comfortable with a pharmacist performing included running a urine screen (95.1%), performing a physical examination (81.1%), treating STIs (98.2%), and discussing STI test results (93.9%). Patients also approved of pharmacists working under a collaborative practice agreement with a physician (97.6%).
Acceptance by patients of a pharmacist-provider for STI screening may lead to the adoption of pharmacists as providers in STI screening clinics. This would decrease barriers to treatment (eg, stigma and lack of access), increase accessibility to care, and greatly improve the identification of those infected with STIs, ultimately leading to a decrease in the spread and long-term sequelae of untreated STIs.