Academic journal article Journal of the Medical Library Association

Assessment of Drug Information Resource Preferences of Pharmacy Students and Faculty*

Academic journal article Journal of the Medical Library Association

Assessment of Drug Information Resource Preferences of Pharmacy Students and Faculty*

Article excerpt


Results of ''A Factual Survey on the Nature and Magnitude of Drug Literature,'' performed by the National Library of Medicine, were presented in 1963 and emphasized the immense and complex nature of the biomedical literature [1]. The drug literature, in particular, is dynamic and continues to increase, creating mounting pressure on health care profes- sionals to keep abreast of new information. To facilitate access to the latest drug-related information, drug information resources have been made available on a number of different electronic platforms. Personal digital assistants (PDAs), for example, gained popularity for accessing drug information in the 1990s, when providers of tertiary drug informa- tion databases made it possible for students and practitioners to access drug-related information at the patient's bedside.

Using mobile devices to access information contin- ues to be popular with students, pharmacists, and other health care professionals, as these groups have indicated frequent use of a PDA for finding drug information in recent studies [2-7]. In a survey of 487 pharmacy students at Creighton University and the McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Siracuse and col- leagues found that 58% of respondents used a PDA for drug information at least once per week, while 25% used it at least daily [2]. A similar survey of faculty and residents at the colleges of nursing, medicine, and pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that 60% of respondents used a PDA to access drug information [7].

As technology continues to advance, drug informa- tion has become even more accessible and is now available on a wide variety of platforms including laptop computers, smartphones, tablet computers, and e-readers [8]. Electronic textbooks have also grown in popularity, with publishers offering indi- vidual and institutional access to many of their products, including those related to drug and medical information. However, this increase in accessibility presents a challenge to those designing a medical resource collection for students and faculty. Electronic textbooks and drug references offer an advantage with respect to availability and up-to-date content; however, the readability and ease of use is a challenge to some users [9]. Furthermore, the old model of students and practitioners purchasing physical texts independently has been replaced with an expectation that institutional access is available, which requires financial considerations for the program or institu- tion. Fiscal responsibility demands close evaluation of resource utilization and user preferences to ensure that biomedical information resources are purchased on the most beneficial platforms for users with ever- changing habits.

This project was conducted to assess the preferenc- es of faculty and students regarding available drug information resources and evaluate their attitudes toward selected electronic devices used to access drug information.


Practice setting

This prospective, self-administered cross-sectional survey was completed at Wingate University School of Pharmacy during the fall semester of 2011. The university is privately owned and has no financial relationship to a major medical center or health care organization. At the time the study was conducted, the school had 320 full-time students and 37 full-time faculty. All students complete a 4-year doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), with an introduction to drug information resources during the first professional (P1) year. This course provides a comprehensive overview of the school's resources and exposes students to topics typically found in a didactic drug information course [10]. Pharmacotherapy and disease-state management courses occur during the second (P2) and third (P3) professional years, followed by clinical rotations during the fourth (P4) year, with drug information offered as an elective rotation. …

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