BACKGROUND: Handheld computers (HHCs) such as smartphones and tablets are providing a variety of drug information (DI) applications to assist pharmacists' decision making in the clinical and hospital setting. However, little is known about the extent of their use among Malaysian pharmacists. The current study aimed to assess the use of electronic DI resources via HHCs by pharmacists in Malaysia. This study also aimed to investigate the pharmacists' perception toward the DI content and functions of mobile medical applications.
METHODS: A convenience sampling method was adopted to invite pharmacists (N = 450) working in various sectors such as hospitals, the drug approval authority, and academia to participate in this online survey. A 36-item questionnaire was administered, and data were summarized and presented using descriptive statistics.
RESULTS: The response rate to this survey was 49.8% (n = 224). Overall, 213 respondents (95.1%) were active HHCs users in their daily clinical practice. About 194 respondents (86.6%) disclosed that they often use HHCs for searching DI. Dosage recommendations (n = 198; 88.4%), adverse drug reactions (n = 153; 68.3%), and drug interactions (n = 146; 65.2%) were the most common DI retrieved. Meanwhile, general dosage recommendation, pediatric dosage recommendations and dosage recommendations for renal failure were ranked as the most important DI in mobile medical applications. Gaining access to the latest information on drugs and clinical practice were regarded as the most important functions of the mobile medical app.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of HHCs for DI among pharmacists in Malaysia was high. The use of locally produced DI sources is still low compared to overseas sources. The most popular applications used for drug-related medical information were Micromedex, followed by Lexicomp and Medscape.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.