Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Science


Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Supervisor

Dr Paul Maj


The rapid evolution and popularity of the Internet technologies, and the World Wide Web, have resulted in unrestricted worldwide access to medical and health information. This has provided the medical profession with the ability to access up to date research more immediately than by traditional means, and has created the potential for advanced information collation. Also the availability of medical literature, previously difficult to obtain for the general public, is having an effect that is both a benefit and a burden to the medical profession. Whilst benefits exist in the use of the Internet in General Practice for clinical support, communication and education, there are also barriers to its inclusion in daily clinical practice. These include the issues of security, access availability, quality, time, research experience and Internet navigation familiarity. Questions remain as to whether or not the Internet can be used in General Practice efficiently, in order to provide a significant advantage over traditional information dissemination methods. This issue is also relevant for other primary health care providers such as pharmacists. In Australia, there has been a relatively slow adoption of both the technology and the use of the Internet for acquiring clinical and medical information. This thesis investigates the current issues surrounding the use of the Internet in general practice and pharmacy in Western Australia. The underlying assumption that the Internet is a useful tool for such information retrieval is examined in terms of useability and usefulness in clinical practice. Further the attitudes to the use of the Internet technology as an effective medium of information delivery were sought.