Positioning and utilization of information and communication technology (ICT) in community pharmacies: a cross sectional study from Selangor, Malaysia (Preprint)
JMIR Medical Informatics
Information and communication technology (ICT) is an essential element of modern "smart" cities. These smart cities have integrated housing, marketplace, public amenities, services, business and transportation linked via the ICT. ICT is also used widely in urban healthcare delivery. This study aims to determine the positioning and roles of ICT in community pharmacies in the state of Selangor, Malaysia. A cross-sectional study was conducted during the period from November 2018 to January 2019
... to January 2019 across nine different subdistricts in the state of Selangor, including Subang Jaya, Cheras, Puchong, Port Klang, Kota Kemuning, Selayang, Chow Kit, Ampang, and Seri Kembangan. A total of 90 community pharmacists were approached from the nine subdistricts and invited to participate in the study. A total of 60 out of 90 community pharmacies agreed and participated in the study, giving a response rate of 66.7%. The majority (60%; n= 36) of the respondents were female pharmacists, and more than half (56.7%; n=34) of community pharmacies were run by young adults (i.e., 30 years and younger). More than three-quarters of the community pharmacies (76.7%; n=46) used electronic health records. Half of the community pharmacies used online social media platforms for advertisement and promoting their pharmacies. The vast majority of the community pharmacies (91.7%; n=55) were using modern electronic payment systems, and some were also using other new electronic payment methods. Moreover, most of the community pharmacies (68.3%; n=41) were using software and programs for accounting and logistics purposes. In addition, 78.3% (n=47) of community pharmacies used a barcode reading system for medicines/health products. In this study, 13 (21.7%) of the pharmacies had online stores, and consumers could buy medicines and health products from these pharmacies via their online portal. In addition, 33.3% (n=20) of community pharmacies use at least one of the common online business platforms in Southeast Asia to sell products/medicines. In terms of communication with the patients, the telephone was the most used means of communication, while some pharmacies also used emails, WhatsApp, SMS, etc. This study showed that the majority of the community pharmacies were using ICT for different purposes. However, they still had limited use of mobile applications to provide health services. Overall, community pharmacies were adapting ICT applications for pharmacy services but were relatively slower than other sectors in Malaysia were.