The internet as a source of drug information: a profile of utilization by junior hospital doctors in a Nigerian teaching hospital.
Introduction: The internet is a useful tool which could provide quality drug information if well applied. Its utilization as a source of drug information by junior doctors in Nigeria is not well documented.
Objective: To assess the use of the internet by junior doctors as a source of objective drug information in Nigeria.
Methods: The study was carried out at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria- a 730 bed tertiary hospital. Structured questionnaires were administered to 160 resident doctors in training at their usual clinical meetings. Information sought included; demographic data, utilization of the internet, category and frequency of drug information request etc. Multiple responses were accepted and the data were analysed and presented descriptively.
Results: The response rate was 98.8 % (158/160) -121 junior and 37senior residents, with a practice duration 0.6-17years (Mean (SD) 4.2±3.8). Majority, 90.5% (143/158) had accessed the internet for drug information, with 83.6% finding it useful, while 14.6% were using it regularly. Websites commonly visited included Google (63.6%), Medscape (36.4%) and Wikipedia (23.8%). Reasons for accessing information included, dosage clarifications (90.9%), indications for use (88.8%), adverse drug reactions (87.4%), poisoning (47.6%) etc. Of interest, was the finding that 39.9% regularly ascertained when the page was last updated.
Conclusion: In all, few residents regularly access the internet for drug information despite the large number that visits sites. Again, the study further suggests the potential dangers of a growing improper use of internet by junior doctors as a source of objective drug information.
Key words: Medical informatics, Internet, Physicians, Nigeria