Background: Pharmacy is an information intensive profession and a pharmacist has to be proficient in health care information management. The advance in information technology and the use of computers to access, retrieve and analyse this information is increasingly important. Yet little is known about pharmacists' computer literacy or information technology skills.
Objectives: To gain a better understanding of pharmacists' basic computer skills and their ability to use standard software.
Methods: Self-administered postal survey to 747 registered pharmacists residing in two counties of England.
Results: A total of 386 (52%) pharmacists responded after two mailings. Most responding pharmacists used computers at work and at home. They believed their basic computing skills to be high, although acknowledged that they were skill deficient in using certain software packages. Internet use at work was low (43%) as too was awareness and use of online medical databases; this was reflected in online medical database training being identified as of greatest need.
Conclusions: Pharmacists were confident in operating computer systems but identified a training need for particular software applications. Of concern is the limited knowledge they possessed and access they had on medical databases.