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WhatsApp Can Enhance Communication Among Pharmacy Staff

July 10, 2019

The instant messaging application WhatsApp can be helpful for off-hours communication among pharmacy professionals, according to a study published online in Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy.

Previously, “the literature has focused on the use of WhatsApp in medical, surgical, and nursing disciplines,” researchers wrote, “with little work exploring pharmacists’ experiences of using WhatsApp to provide services.”

Researchers analyzed 1580 messages that occurred in approximately 300 different communication events to explore pharmacist experiences using the platform for off-hours pharmacy services. In all, 27 participants from five focus groups were included in the study.

WhatsApp enhanced communication between junior and senior pharmacists, the study found, and supported the sharing of best practices. However, the study raised concerns about the encroachment of work into personal time as well as ethical and legal issues surrounding communication methods. 

“WhatsApp can be a useful platform to support the delivery of out-of-hours services through professional development, improving communication and supporting relationships,” the study concluded. “This paper demonstrates that service managers must consider multiple ethico-legal and social frameworks when developing or allowing the organic development of such communication methods within healthcare provider organizations.”

Jolynn Tumolo



Rathbone AP, Norris R, Parker P, et al. Exploring the use of WhatsApp in out-of-hours pharmacy services: a multi-site qualitative study [published online June 29, 2019]. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2019 Jun 29. pii: S1551-7411(18)30776-9. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2019.06.019

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