Developing a quality framework for community pharmacy: a systematic review of international literature

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To identify the defining features of the quality of community pharmacy (CP) services and synthesise these into an evidence-based quality framework.

Design Systematic review following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines.

Data sources International research evidence (2005 onwards) identified from six electronic databases (Embase, PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, Web of Science and PsycINFO) was reviewed systematically from October 2022 to January 2023. Search terms related to ‘community pharmacy’ and ‘quality’.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies Titles and abstracts were screened against inclusion or exclusion criteria, followed by full-text screening by at least two authors. Qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method studies relevant to quality in CP were included.

Data extraction and synthesis A narrative synthesis was undertaken. Following narrative synthesis, a patient and public involvement event was held to further refine the quality framework.

Results Following the title and abstract screening of 11 493 papers, a total of 81 studies (qualitative and quantitative) were included. Of the 81 included studies, 43 investigated quality dimensions and/or factors influencing CP service quality; 21 studies assessed patient satisfaction with and/or preferences for CP, and 17 studies reported the development and assessment of quality indicators, standards and guidelines for CPs, which can help define quality.

The quality framework emerging from the global literature consisted of six dimensions: person-centred care, access, environment, safety, competence and integration within local healthcare systems. Quality was defined as having timely and physical access to personalised care in a suitable environment that is safe and effective, with staff competent in the dispensing process and pharmacy professionals possessing clinical knowledge and diagnostic skills to assess and advise patients relative to pharmacists’ increasingly clinical roles.

Conclusion The emerging framework could be used to measure and improve the quality of CP services. Further research and feasibility testing are needed to validate the framework according to the local healthcare context.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere079820
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2024


  • Health policy
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pharmacists
  • Primary Care
  • Quality in health care
  • Systematic Review


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