The effectiveness of direct to healthcare professional communication – A systematic review of communication factor studies

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Background: Direct to healthcare professional communication (DHPC) is the prevalent regulatory measure to inform about and potentially mitigate newly identified drug risks in EU and USA. According to multiple studies and reviews, however, the effectiveness of DHPC to reduce risk is less than optimal. Prior systematic reviews have indicated that contextual, qualitative knowledge of communication factors related to the clinical setting is needed to further explain and supplement findings in quantitative effectiveness studies. Objectives: This article systematically reviews studies of DHPC and, on that basis, describes the communication factors that influence the effectiveness of DHPC in order to discuss future research trajectories. Methods: PubMed, Scopus (including Embase) and Web of Science databases were searched for studies on communication about emergent drug risk to healthcare professionals, excluding studies limited to the quantifiable effect of communication. The search results were deductively categorized using the Communication Sequence Model. Then, prevalent themes within categories were identified and described using thematic analysis. Results: A total of 16 studies published between 1993 and 2017 were included; 12 based on surveys, 2 on document analysis, and 2 primarily on interviews. The prevalent themes included “Health Care Professionals (HCPs) have less trust in communication from industry than authorities and medical associations” “HCPs have diverse preferences for how to receive drug risk information” and “Clinical usability of the presented information is less than optimal.” Conclusion: Communication factors in DHPCs are multiple, multi-facetted and are examined primarily by surveys. Future research would benefit from identifying nationally dependent factors and employing methods that better provide knowledge on the qualitative reception and handling of drug risk communication.

Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)475-482
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

    Research areas

  • Communication factors, Direct to healthcare professional communication, Pharmacovigilance, Risk minimization measures

ID: 218483472