Medical student experiences of a smartphone-delivered drug information resource

Jean Pierre Calabretto, Josephine Thomas, Simone Rossi, Justin Beilby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Investigate the suitability of mobile devices to deliver drug information content to 4th, 5th and 6th year medical students, searching for opportunities to improve drug information access or content to best support medication-related decision-making. Method: Participants undertook a baseline online survey prior to gaining access to the mobile drug information resource, and a second survey towards the end of the project. A small group of students were interviewed mid-way through the project. Question themes covered technology, smartphone and information use, and user experiences. Results: 94 students completed survey one between February and May 2011 and 83 students completed survey two between October 2011 and January 2012. Ten students were interviewed. General use of information and communications technology and smartphones was high. Smartphone-delivered mobile drug information was accepted and valued by students. Access problems were not a significant concern for the majority of students. Most students accessed drug information content weekly. Type of information sought varied between year groups, but the most common types were adverse effects, drug doses and drug interactions. Despite mobile availability, access via computer or textbook remained high depending on context of use. The vast majority of students preferred using the search function to find information compared to browsing. Professional and social factors affected student comfort or ability to use the smartphone in the clinical setting Conclusion: Mobile access via smartphone provided quick access to drug information content, but actual usage will be tempered by context of use, workflow, professional and social factors; and to a small degree by access problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere18
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages10
JournalElectronic Journal of Health Informatics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision-making
  • Drug information
  • Education
  • Medical students
  • Smartphones


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