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The use of information and communication technology by South African

physiotherapy students

Over the past few decades, there has been a global shift toward the use of information and
communication technology (ICT) in healthcare education, which has been shown to
enhance both the educational opportunities and the support provided to students and
healthcare professionals. This study aimed to investigate the use of ICT by South African
physiotherapy students and what their experiences and perceptions were regarding their
use of ICT during their studies.

The study design was a cross-sectional, descriptive survey using a self-administered


questionnaire. The survey population included all of the undergraduate physiotherapy
students from six of the eight universities offering the physiotherapy degree in South Africa
(n=1105). The sample size consisted of the 529 students from the survey population who
completed and returned questionnaires, indicating a response rate of 47.8%.

The results of the study showed that the use of ICT by South African physiotherapy
students varied according to the task performed, racial group and university attended.
Furthermore, the use of ICT in communication, research and continuing professional
development, or lifelong learning, was low, which raises concerns with the shift in
healthcare education toward evidence-based practices.

In conclusion, there is a concern that with the move toward community based service
delivery in South Africa, certain groups of physiotherapy students may not be well placed
to make use of ICT services as a means of improving communication, enhancing
education, participating in lifelong learning opportunities and accessing support.

Keywords Information and communication technology, ICT, physiotherapy, students,


education