Background: The Australian Home Medicines Review (HMR) is a free consumer service to assist individuals living at home to maximize the benefits of their medicine regimen and prevent medication-related problems. It consists of a pharmacist reviewing a person’s medicines and collaborating with the general practitioner to optimize the individual’s medicine management. The uptake of this service has remained below the projected use, although the program has shown to successfully identify medication-related problems and improve drug knowledge and adherence of the patient.
Objectives: This study investigates the perceived benefits and barriers of the patients regarding the HMR service who have used the service and who are eligible for it but have never used it.
Methods: Consumer perceptions were drawn from 14 semistructured focus groups, with patients and carers belonging to the general HMR target population and consumer segments that have been postulated to be underrepresented with regard to this service.
Results: The major benefits reported were acquisition of medicine information, reassurance, feeling valued and cared for, and willingness to advocate medication changes to the general practitioner. Perceived barriers were concerns regarding upsetting the general practitioner, pride and independence, confidence issues with an unknown pharmacist, privacy and safety concerns regarding the home visit, and lack of information about the program. Participants agreed that the potential benefits of the service outweighed its potential barriers.
Conclusions: It is expected that direct-to-consumer promotion of HMRs would increase the uptake of this valuable service. It would be necessary to ensure that the process and benefits of the service are communicated clearly and sensitively to eligible patients and their carers to obviate common consumer misconceptions and/or barriers regarding the HMR service. Furthermore, any direct-to-consumer promotion of the service must enable patient/carer self-identification of eligibility.