Positioning and utilization of information and communication technology in community pharmacies of Selangor, Malaysia: Cross-sectional study

K. C. Bhuvan, Dorothy Lim, Chia Chia Low, Connie Chew, Ali Qais Blebil, Juman Abdulelah Dujaili, Alian A. Alrasheedy

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Background: 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 via ICT. ICT is also now widely used in urban health care delivery. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the positioning and roles of ICT in community pharmacies in the state of Selangor, Malaysia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from November 2018 to January 2019 across 9 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 9 subdistricts and invited to participate in the study. Results: Of the 90 community pharmacies approached, 60 agreed to participate in the study, representing a response rate of 67%. The majority (36/60, 60%) of the respondents were women, and more than half (32/60, 53%) of the community pharmacies were run by young adults (ie, 30 years old and younger). More than three-quarters of the community pharmacies (46/60, 77%) used electronic health records. Half of the community pharmacies used online social media platforms for advertising and promoting their pharmacies. The vast majority of the community pharmacies (55/60, 92%) were using modern electronic payment systems, and some were also using other new electronic payment methods. Moreover, most of the community pharmacies (41/60, 68%) were using software and programs for accounting and logistics purposes. In addition, 47/60 (78%) of the community pharmacies used a barcode reading system for medicines/health products, and 16/60 (27%) of the pharmacies had online stores, and consumers could buy medicines and health products from these pharmacies via their online portal. In addition, 20/60 (33%) of the community pharmacies used at least one of the common online business platforms available in Southeast Asia to sell products/medicines. The telephone was the most commonly used means of communication with patients, although some pharmacies also used email, WhatsApp, SMS text messaging, and other communication platforms. Conclusions: This study showed that the majority of community pharmacies in Selangor, Malaysia are using ICT for different purposes. However, there is still limited use of mobile apps to provide health services. Overall, community pharmacies have been adopting ICT apps for pharmacy services but the rate of adoption is relatively slower than that in other sectors of Malaysia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17982
Number of pages11
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Community pharmacy
  • Information and communication technology
  • Malaysia
  • Pharmacy services

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