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Purpose: To investigate the perceptions, expectations, and experiences of physicians regarding hospital-based pharmacists in some Iraqi government hospitals.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at four government hospitals in Baghdad and Erbil, Iraq from March to July 2012. A validated, self-administered questionnaire was hand-delivered to a random sample of 200 physicians. The questionnaire comprised four sections that probed the physicians' demographic characteristics as well as their perceptions of, expectations of, and experiences with hospital pharmacists.
Results: Most participants (69.4 %) reported rarely interacting with pharmacists and that enquiring about the availability of medications was the main purpose (74.9 %) of any interactions. Physicians reported being comfortable with pharmacists preventing prescription error, treating minor illness, and suggesting prescription medication to physicians of 74, 75 and 67 %, respectively, but only 47 % were comfortable with pharmacists providing patient education. The perspective of physicians in Erbil differed from that of physicians in Baghdad (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Interactions between Iraqi physicians and pharmacists are still not optimal. Physicians are much more comfortable with traditional pharmacist functions than with the extended, patient-oriented pharmacy services currently being promoted. Great efforts are needed to enhance the Iraqi physician's attitude regarding the clinical services provided by pharmacists which in turn would result in more collaboration among healthcare professionals.
Keywords: Physician, Pharmacist, Perception, Experience, Expectation, Patient-oriented, Pharmacy service