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Community pharmacy technicians' engagement in the delivery of brief tobacco cessation interventions: Results of a randomized trial.

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In recent years, the role of community pharmacy technicians has expanded to include involvement in the provision of brief tobacco cessation interventions. While technicians appear to be a key component in this service, their level of engagement and associated perceptions of this new role have not been described.


To compare pharmacy technicians' frequency of involvement in brief tobacco cessation interventions delivered in a community pharmacy setting, as a function of training approach, and to characterize their perceptions of this expanded role, including barriers to implementation.


Twenty California-based grocery store chain pharmacies were randomized to receive (a) written training materials-only [minimal] or (b) written training materials plus live training with coaching and active monitoring by pharmacy management [intensive]. After written materials were distributed to the sites, tobacco cessation interventions were documented prospectively for 12 weeks post-training.


Over the 12-week study, technicians (n = 50) documented their involvement in 524 interventions (57.7% of 908 total), with the minimal group accounting for 56.1% and the intensive group accounting for 43.9% (p < 0.001). The number of individual technicians who reported at least one intervention was 16 (of 26; 61.5%) in the minimal group and 24 (of 24; 100%) in the intensive group (p < 0.001). At the conclusion of the study, 100% of technicians in the intensive group self-rated their ability to interact with patients about quitting smoking as good, very good, or excellent compared to 73.9% in the minimal group (p = 0.10).


In both study arms, technicians documented high numbers of tobacco cessation interventions. The higher proportion of technicians providing one or more interventions in the intensive group suggests a greater overall engagement in the process, relative to those receiving minimal training. Technicians can play a key role in the delivery of tobacco cessation interventions in community pharmacies.

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