Pharmacists’ response during a pandemic: A survey on readiness to test during COVID-19

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Background: Testing is a principle component to reopening society and bringing the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to an end. Pharmacists have the ability to perform certain point-of-care tests under federal regulations. On April 8, 2020, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health issued new guidance authorizing licensed pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests. Objective: The primary objective of this study was to investigate the views of pharmacists about pharmacist-ordered and -administered COVID-19 testing. Methods: A 13-item questionnaire was developed to survey pharmacists who currently hold an active license in Rhode Island. Results: A total of 122 (13.8%) pharmacists consented and responded to at least 1 question of the survey. The results indicated that the primary concern of the pharmacists in regard to performing COVID-19 testing was spreading the infection to family members (71.3%). Becoming personally infected (59.8%) and not having access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (62.3%) were the second and third most common concerns of the pharmacists. Almost all of the pharmacists (99.9%) responded that they would be willing to take part in the testing process if they had appropriate PPE. A total of 46% of the pharmacists expressed concern regarding reimbursement for their company, whereas 56% of the pharmacists requested personal compensation for this service. Conclusion: Expanding the pool of health care providers who can perform testing is critical to achieving and sustaining proposed testing thresholds. Rhode Island pharmacists are willing to take part in performing COVID-19 testing provided appropriate PPE is available and services are reimbursed. Pharmacists are the most accessible and essential health care providers willing to take on critically important roles during the COVID-19 pandemic provided appropriate safety measures can be met.

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Journal of the American Pharmacists Association