Educating community pharmacists to provide quality advice and information to consumers via the internet

Project Details
Project ID: 2001-041
Type: Investigator Initiated
Status: Completed
Institution: Monash University
Chief Investigator: Professor Chris Silagy

Project Summary

Australian community pharmacists are operating in an information technology rich society, however most pharmacists have had no formal Internet training or education. This project addressed this knowledge gap by:

  • Conducting two focus groups to assess community pharmacists’ current levels of Internet usage and their needs with respect to further education
  • Creating an educational intervention.

A four week course, Advanced Web Skills for Pharmacists: Finding Quality on the Internet, was developed. It aimed to give pharmacists the necessary skills in order to efficiently find quality information on the Internet. It was taught at distance and was delivered via CD-ROM and web-based discussion forums. The impact of this intervention was assessed by two studies. The first study evaluated the specifics of the educational program through a short survey. The second study measured the impact of the course on the pharmacists’ attitudes towards the Internet. The results of the studies were encouraging. Participating pharmacists were highly positive about the course and many reported specific changes to practice. They also described the program as very time-consuming, but this may be an unavoidable aspect of learning new skills.