Self-reported use of handheld computers: a survey of Nova Scotia pharmacists

Alicia McCallum, Ingrid Sketris, Glenn Rodrigues, David K. Yung, Barbara Hill-Taylor, Steve Doucette

Abstract


Introduction: With an ever-increasing array of pharmaceutical and biomedical products and literature, health professionals including pharmacists struggle to obtain, evaluate, and apply relevant information. Handheld computers provide pharmacists with mobile access to evidence-informed medical information, decision support tools, and the ability to monitor therapeutic outcomes at the point of care. There is limited literature on the usage of this technology by Canadian pharmacists. The objective of this survey was to determine the scope and nature of handheld computer use by Nova Scotia pharmacists. Method: In 2008, Nova Scotia pharmacists were contacted with a written survey. Descriptive statistics were used to compare users and non-users. Multivariate regression analysis was used to determine demographic and pharmacy practice variables that might be associated with pharmacists’ use of handheld computers. Results: The survey was returned by 296 pharmacists (27.7%). Handheld computers were reported to be used by 51% of respondents. Those respondents who have been in practice longer were less likely to adopt handheld computer use (adjusted OR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.94–0.99, p = 0.01). Barriers and facilitators to usage were explored. More than two-thirds of pharmacists who had not yet used handheld computers perceived a future value for these devices within their practice. Discussion: Pharmacists are adopting the use of handheld computers. With enhanced clinical practice opportunities for pharmacists including independent prescribing, these tools may offer needed functionality. Further work is required to understand the value of handheld computers as information resources, which may improve the effectiveness and efficiency of patient care.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5596/c11-055

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