Examining hospital pharmacists' goals for medication counseling within the communication accommodation theoretical framework

Bernadette A.M. Chevalier, Bernadette Maria Watson, Michael A. Barras, William Neil Cottrell

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background Medication counseling opportunities are key times for pharmacists to speak to patients about their medications and any changes made during their hospital stay. Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) posits that an individual's goals drive their communication behavior. The way in which pharmacists communicate with patients may be determined by the goals they set for these medication counseling sessions. Objectives To examine hospital pharmacists' goals in patient medication counseling within the CAT framework. Methods Hospital pharmacist focus groups were held in two teaching hospitals. Interested pharmacists attended a focus group designed to elicit their goals in patient medication counseling. Focus groups were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. NVivo®software was used to assist in coding and organization. The codes were reviewed for reliability by pharmacists independent of the focus groups. An inductive thematic analysis was applied to the data. Results Six 1 h focus groups were conducted with a total of 24 pharmacists participating. Saturation of information was achieved after four focus groups. Greater than 80% consensus was achieved for reliability of the identified codes. Patient-centered themes constructed from these codes were to build rapport, to empower patients and to improve patients' experience, health and safety. Exemplars provided by pharmacists for the goals of building rapport and empowering patients were aligned with five CAT communication behaviors (approximation, interpretability, discourse management, emotional expression and interpersonal control). Conclusions Patient-centered goals described by hospital pharmacists for medication counseling aligned well with CAT behaviors necessary for effective communication. Further research using the CAT framework to examine the effectiveness of hospital pharmacist-patient exchanges that include both participants' perspectives is required to better understand how well pharmacists communicate with patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-755
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication
  • Communication accommodation theory
  • Focus group
  • Hospital pharmacist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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