Co-development and testing of an extended community pharmacy model of service delivery for managing osteoarthritis: protocol for a sequential, multi-methods study (PharmOA)

Opeyemi O. Babatunde*, Elizabeth Cottrell, Simon White, Adrian Chudyk, Emma L. Healey, John Edwards, Elaine Nicholls, Nicola O’Brien, Adam Todd, Christine Walker, Colin Stanford, Tania Cork, Angela Long, Joanna Simkins, Christian D. Mallen, Krysia Dziedzic, Melanie A. Holden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Osteoarthritis is a common, painful and disabling long-term condition. Delivery of high-quality guideline-informed osteoarthritis care that successfully promotes and maintains supported self-management is imperative. However, osteoarthritis care remains inconsistent, including under use of core non-pharmacological approaches of education, exercise and weight loss. Community pharmacies are an accessible healthcare provider. United Kingdom government initiatives are promoting their involvement in a range of long-term conditions, including musculoskeletal conditions. It is not known what an enhanced community pharmacy role for osteoarthritis care should include, what support is needed to deliver such a role, and whether it would be feasible and acceptable to community pharmacy teams. In this (PharmOA) study, we aim to address these gaps, and co-design and test an evidence-based extended community pharmacy model of service delivery for managing osteoarthritis. Methods: Informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework, Normalisation Process Theory, and the Medical Research Council (MRC) framework for developing complex interventions, we will undertake a multi-methods study involving five phases: 1. Systematic review to summarise currently available evidence on community pharmacy roles in supporting adults with osteoarthritis and other chronic (non-cancer) pain. 2. Cross-sectional surveys and one-to-one qualitative interviews with patients, healthcare professionals and pharmacy staff to explore experiences of current, and potential extended community pharmacy roles, in delivering osteoarthritis care. 3. Stakeholder co-design to: a) agree on the extended role of community pharmacies in osteoarthritis care; b) develop a model of osteoarthritis care within which the extended roles could be delivered (PharmOA model of service delivery); and c) refine existing tools to support community pharmacies to deliver extended osteoarthritis care roles (PharmOA tools). 4. Feasibility study to explore the acceptability and feasibility of the PharmOA model of service delivery and PharmOA tools to community pharmacy teams. 5. Final stakeholder workshop to: a) finalise the PharmOA model of service delivery and PharmOA tools, and b) if applicable, prioritise recommendations for its wider future implementation. Discussion: This novel study paves the way to improving access to and availability of high-quality guideline-informed, consistent care for people with osteoarthritis from within community pharmacies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number54
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2024

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