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A qualitative case study of ehealth and digital literacy experiences of pharmacy staff.

MacLure, Katie; Stewart, Derek


Katie MacLure

Derek Stewart


Background: eHealth's many forms are benchmarked by the World Health Organization. Scotland is considered an advanced adopter of ehealth. The third global survey on ehealth includes pharmacy-related ehealth indicators. Advances in ehealth place an obligation on pharmacy staff to demonstrate proficiency, or digital literacy, in using ehealth technologies. Objective: The aim of this study was to provide an indepth exploration of the ehealth and digital literacy experiences of pharmacy staff in the North East of Scotland. Method: A qualitative local case study approach was adopted for observational and interview activities in community and hospital pharmacies. Interview and observational data were collated and analysed using a framework approach. This study gained management approval from the local health board following ethical review by the sponsor university. Results: Nineteen pharmacies and staff (n = 94) participated including two hospitals. Most participants were female (n = 82), aged 29 years and younger (n = 34) with less than 5 years pharmacy experience (n = 49). Participants identified their own digital literacy as basic. Most of the pharmacies had minimum levels of technology implemented (n = 15). Four themes (technology, training, usability, processes) were inducted from the data, coded and modelled with illustrative quotes. Conclusion: Scotland is aspirational in seeking to support the developing role of pharmacy practice with ehealth, however, evidence to date shows most pharmacy staff work with minimum levels of technology. The self-reported lack of digital literacy and often mentioned lack of confidence in using IT suggest pharmacy staff need support and training. Informal work based digital literacy development of the pharmacy team is self-limiting. Usability of ehealth technology could be a key element of its’ acceptability. There is potential to better engage with ehealth process efficiencies in both hospital and community pharmacy. As Scotland increasingly invests in ehealth pharmacy technology, it is important that it also invests in pharmacy staff training.


MACLURE, K. and STEWART, D. 2018. A qualitative case study of ehealth and digital literacy experiences of pharmacy staff. Research in social and administrative pharmacy [online], 14(6), pages 555-563. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 2, 2017
Online Publication Date Jul 3, 2017
Publication Date Jun 30, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 4, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jul 4, 2018
Journal Research in social and administrative pharmacy
Print ISSN 1551-7411
Electronic ISSN 1934-8150
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 6
Pages 555-563
Keywords Pharmacy technology; E-health; Digital literacy; Pharmacy staff; Education; Training
Public URL


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