In 2014, Alexandre Chagnon, newly graduated as a pharmacist, faced for the first time the risks incurred by people who consult the Internet to answer their health-related questions.

At that time, he found it odd that so many people went online for advices, while he and other colleagues were available on every corner of the city. He was also very curious about the fact that some pharmacists had started providing online counseling to patients through commercial social networks such as Facebook, exposing the public to a risk of irrelevant usage of their personal information, and thereby contravening Canadian laws.

For some years now, Alexandre and other team members have been working to better understand the relations Canadians have with Internet in regard of their health. In 2016, to better meet the needs of the population, they began a series of research and surveys that resulted in scientific publications.

Line Guénette, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Pharmacy Faculty, Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada

Research Center of the CHU of Quebec - Laval University, Population Health and Best

Practices in Health Axis, Saint-Sacrement Hospital, Quebec, QC, Canada

Anara Richi Dossa, Pharm.D., Ph.D.

Research Center of the CHU of Quebec - Laval University

Audrey Vandesrasier, M. Sc. M.A

Consultant in communication and health, Montreal, QC, Canada

Alexandre Chagnon, B. Pharm, DÉSS (in progress)

Hospital Pharmacist at CIUSSS Estrie – Granby Hospital, Granby, QC, Canada

These publications help better understand the online encounters between patients and professionals on Internet. It also constantly helps improve the functionalities found on the Ask your Pharmacist platform.

September 2018:


Objective : To document the influence of an online teleconsultation service offered by community pharmacists on patients’ perceptions and behavioural intentions regarding the services offered.

Background : With the advent of Internet and the surge in telecommunications, teleconsultation is tending to play an increasingly important role in patient management. A free teleconsultation service based on pharmacist knowledge and expertise has been available in the province of Quebec since 2015. Patients can ask a question regarding their health and medications and receive a written answer from a pharmacist within 24 hours.

Results : A number of 106 participants participated in a survey, The results indicate that the use of the online teleconsultation service has led to greater awareness of the services offered by pharmacists and changed patients’ perceptions of their medical conditions and medications. Ninety percent of the participants were more motivated to use their pharmacist’s services more often, and 88 % indicated that they had greater confidence in them.

Status: published. Access the full text. (French)

June 2018:

Answers provided by pharmacists to patients on the "Question pour un pharmacien” website: a readability analysis.

Objective : To determine the readability of the answers provided by pharmacists to people asking questions on the Question pour un pharmacien (QPUP) website, a health and drug information source.

Status: pending publication.

February 2018:

Question for a pharmacist: a teleconsultation service offered by pharmacists to provide quality health care in Quebec

Objectives : To better understand the utility of the service for patients and the perception of health professionals. Describe the users, the most frequent questions, the level of language of the answers provided and the conditions that favor or hinder the use of the service.

State: in progress. Learn more (French)

September 2017:


Introduction : A french website enables Quebec patients aged 14 and older to ask pharmacists their health-and-drugs related questions confidentially since October 2015. It acts as a free social network where patients meet nearby volunteered pharmacists online. Every patients get an answer in less than 24 hours.

Objectives : To highlight the impacts of an Internet-based teleconsultation service with pharmacists on healthcare resources utilization of patients.

Methodology : A quantitative study was done. Data was collected through an online survey sent to all patients (n = 116) who received an answer through the website between March 3rd and April 21st 2017.

Results : 54 (47%) patients completed the survey. The website have enabled pharmacists to reduce emergency room consultations (2%), walk-in clinic visits (19%), non-urgent telephone helpline (811) calls (32%) and family physician visits (37%). It also allows patients to connect with a pharmacist. 91% wouldn’t have call and 48% wouldn’t have consult in person this healthcare professional otherwise. No patient recall using the website as an alternative to the 911.

Access the full text. (French)

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