Understanding factors that could influence patient acceptability of the use of the PINCER intervention in primary care: A qualitative exploration using the Theoretical Framework of Acceptability

Libby Laing, Nde-eshimuni Salema, Mark Jeffries, Azwa Shamsuddin, Aziz Sheikh, Antony Chuter, Justin Waring, Anthony Avery, Richard N. Keers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Medication errors are an important cause of morbidity and mortality. The pharmacist-led IT-based intervention to reduce clinically important medication errors (PINCER) intervention was shown to reduce medication errors when tested in a cluster randomised controlled trial and when implemented across one region of England. Now that it has been rolled out nationally, and to enhance findings from evaluations with staff and stakeholders, this paper is the first to report patients’ perceived acceptability on the use of PINCER in primary care and proposes suggestions on how delivery of PINCER related care could be delivered in a way that is acceptable and not unnecessarily burdensome. Methods A total of 46 participants living with long-term health conditions who had experience of medication reviews and/or monitoring were recruited through patient participant groups and social media. Semi-structured, qualitative interviews and focus groups were conducted face-to-face or via telephone. A thematic analysis was conducted and findings mapped to the constructs of the Theoretical Framework of Acceptability (TFA). Results Two themes were identified and interpreted within the most relevant TFA construct: Perceptions on the purpose and components of PINCER (Affective Attitude and Intervention Coherence) and Perceived patient implications (Burden and Self-efficacy). Overall perceptions on PINCER were positive with participants showing good understanding of the components. Access to medication reviews, which PINCER related care can involve, was reported to be limited and a lack of consistency in practitioners delivering reviews was considered challenging, as was lack of communication between primary care and other health-care providers. Patients thought it would be helpful if medication reviews and prescription renewal times were synchronised. Remote medication review consultations were more convenient for some but viewed as a barrier to communication by others. It was acknowledged that some patients may be more resistant to change and more willing to accept changes initiated by general practitioners. Conclusions Participants found the concept of PINCER acceptable; however, acceptability could be improved if awareness on the role of primary care pharmacists is raised and patient-pharmacist relationships enhanced. Being transparent with communication and delivering streamlined and consistent but flexible PINCER related care is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0275633
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2022


  • Focus Groups
  • General Practitioners
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors
  • Pharmacists
  • Primary Health Care


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