Legislative and regulatory bodies in Canada have authorized pharmacists to prescribe in different provinces. Albertan pharmacists have the broadest prescribing scope. Our objective was to cluster Albertan pharmacists into different prescriber groups based on their self‐reported prescribing practice and to compare the groups according to practice settings, the proportion of Additional Prescribing Authority (APA) pharmacists and support experiences.
A cross‐sectional survey was administered among a sample of 700 Albertan practicing registered pharmacists in 2013 to identify their involvement in different types of prescribing activities. Cluster analysis was used to group participants based on their reported prescribing practices. Chi‐squared test was used to compare prescriber groups by practice settings and the proportion of APA pharmacists. One‐way analysis of variance was used to compare the groups by their support experiences.
Three major groups of pharmacist prescriber were identified – ‘renewal prescriber’ (74%), ‘Modifier’ (17%) and ‘Wide ranged prescriber’ (9%). Prevalence of ‘renewal prescriber’ in the community setting was 85.8% whereas ‘Modifier’ was predominant (66.7%) in the collaborative setting. Higher support experience facilitated the wide range prescribing. Pharmacists with APA were most likely to be classified into ‘Modifier’ (17.6%) or ‘Wide ranged prescriber’ (13.8%) groups than the ‘renewal prescriber’ group (3.1%).
Although legislation allowed Albertan pharmacists to have the broadest scope of prescribing authority, few are practicing with the fullest scope. Prescribing practice varies based on practice setting and support experience. Future research could explore factors influencing the types of adoption and measure the shifting of prescribing type over time.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.