Tele-pharmacy perception, knowledge and associated factors among pharmacy students in northwest Ethiopia: an input for implementers | BMC Medical Education


Socio-demographic characteristics of participants

A total of 352 study subjects participated, with a response rate of 93.62%. The mean age of the study participants was 24.26 with an SD ± 3.419 years with ranges from 20 to 37 years. About 259 (73.6%) of the respondents were in the age category of 20–25. The majority, 274(77.8%) of the participants, were male, and 295 (83.8%) were single. Regarding religion, around 286 (81.3%) of the study participants were Orthodox, and 93 (26.4%) were post-basic and postgraduate students Table 1.

Table 1 Socio-demographic characteristics of pharmacy students

Technological and organizational characteristics

More than two-thirds of pharmacy students, 286 (81.3%), have access to one of the electronic devices, with the majority of respondents, 203 (57.7%), having access to smartphones. The findings show that approximately 207 (58.8%) of study participants did not receive basic computer training, and only half, 178 (50.6%) of the study participants, had sufficient skill to use computer systems, enabling them to use the Tele-pharmacy system. The majority of respondents, 298 (84.7%), said they had internet access in their learning environment, and roughly three-fourths, 210 (59.7%), said they used the internet to access health-related information.

Most of the 260 (73.9%) pharmacy students did not receive training in pharmacy information systems. Furthermore, more than two-thirds of 237 (67.3%) reported no pharmacy information system implementation guideline, and approximately 262 (74.4%) reported a lack of management support from their department to implement a Tele-pharmacy system Table 2.

Table 2 Technological and organizational characteristics of pharmacy students

Pharmacy student’s knowledge regarding Tele-pharmacy

Of the study participants, 114 (32.4% CI = 27%-37%) had adequate knowledge of the Tele-pharmacy system (Fig. 1. More than three-quarters, 304(86.4%) of the participants stated that they are unaware of Tele-pharmacy systems in Ethiopia. Approximately 277 (78.7%) of participants agreed that pharmacists should know about information and communication technology to practice Tele-pharmacy.

Fig. 1
figure 1

Pharmacy students’ knowledge and perception of Tele-pharmacy

Approximately 80% of participants believed that tele-pharmacy played a significant role in outbreaks worldwide. The majority of 283 (80.4%) of the study participants agreed that Tele-pharmacy provides better counseling in terms of privacy and length of the session, Table 3.

Table 3 Knowledge of Tele-pharmacy among pharmacy students

Pharmacy student’s perception of Tele-pharmacy

Of the total study participants, 171 (48.6% CI = 43%—54%) had a positive perception of Tele-pharmacy Fig. 1. Table 4 illustrates that about 195(55.4%) agreed that Tele-pharmacy can help patients save their money and travel time to reach healthcare facilities. The majority of 245(69.6%) of the study participants agreed that Tele-pharmacy could minimize the cost of establishing a pharmaceutical business compared to a regular pharmacy. Moreover, about 216(61.4) of the study participants agreed that pharmacy schools should provide education programs on computers, IT, and Tele-pharmacy to assist in the future utilization of Tele-pharmacy Table 4.

Table 4 Perception towards Tele-pharmacy among pharmacy students

Factors associated with pharmacy students’ knowledge about Tele-pharmacy

Bivariate and multivariable analyses were used to investigate the factors associated with students’ knowledge of Tele-pharmacy. In a bivariate analysis, the candidate variables for the multivariable logistic regression analysis were Sex, Age, Student’s grade (CPGA), Training related to pharmacy information systems, Device access, Basic computer training, computer skill, internet access, availability of pharmacy information system implementation guidelines, and management support to implement a pharmacy information system.

According to the findings of multivariable logistic regression analysis, being age group of 26–30 (AOR = 0.35, 95% CI: 0.17–0.68), being male (AOR = 2.38, 95% CI: 1.26–4.49), Having a CPGA of > 3.5 (AOR = 2.28, 95% CI: 1.24–4.19), Taking basic computer training (AOR = 2.00, 95% CI: 1.17–3.39), Management support to implement pharmacy information system (AOR = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.06–3.19) were found to be significantly associated with knowledge towards tele-pharamcy among pharmacy students Table 5.

Table 5 Factors associated with pharmacy students’ knowledge about Tele-pharmacy (N = 352)


Factors associated with pharmacy students’ perception of Tele-pharmacy

Based on the multivariable logistic regression analysis in Table 5, Having access to electronic devices (AOR = 3.80, 95% CI: 1.81–7.97), training related to pharmacy information systems (AOR = 6.66, 95% CI: 3.34–13.29), availability of pharmacy information system implementation guideline (AOR = 2.99, 95% CI: 1.62–5.50) were found to be significantly associated with perception towards Tele-pharmacy among pharmacy students Table 6.

Table 6 Factors associated with pharmacy students’ perception of Tele-pharmacy (N = 352)


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