Preference and Frequency of Mobile Phone App Use for Drug Information Among Student Pharmacists

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Abstract

Background: Health care professionals commonly use mobile devices to retrieve drug information (DI) in clinical practice. The preference and frequency of such use by student pharmacists are not well understood. Objective: To investigate the preference and frequency of mobile phone application (app) use for retrieving DI among student pharmacists. Methods: DI specialists from 3 pharmacy schools generated a 13-question survey relating to students’ preference and frequency of DI app use via their mobile phone. The survey was tested and electronically disseminated to all current P1 through P4 students from all 3 schools. Data were collected for student demographics, availability of mobile phone and DI apps, frequency of using DI apps, and whether DI apps were purchased. Data were analyzed descriptively and statistically. Results: About 74% (n = 221) of students reported using their mobile phone apps for retrieving DI. About 95% of the students used 1 to 3 apps for DI purposes and more than 85% used them a few times a week or more. About 17.6% of the students reported purchasing apps for the purpose of finding DI and that purchased apps are more accurate (27.6%), more comprehensive (36.2%), and more current (26.2%), compared with free apps. Conclusions: Student pharmacists used 1 to 3 mobile apps, at least a few times a week for DI. Some students purchased apps for DI use in addition to free subscriptions from their school. Students perceived purchased DI apps being more accurate, more comprehensive, and more up to date than the free apps.

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