A cross-sectional evaluation of computer literacy among medical students at a tertiary care teaching hospital in Mumbai (Bombay)

T. S. Panchabhai, N. S. Dangayach, V. S. Mehta, C. V. Patankar, N. N. Rege

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Background: Computer usage capabilities of medical students for introduction of computer-aided learning have not been adequately assessed. Aim: Cross-sectional study to evaluate computer literacy among medical students. Settings and Design: Tertiary care teaching hospital in Mumbai, India. Materials and Methods: Participants were administered a 52-question questionnaire, designed to study their background, computer resources, computer usage, activities enhancing computer skills, and attitudes toward computer-aided learning (CAL). The data was classified on the basis of sex, native place, and year of medical school, and the computer resources were compared. The computer usage and attitudes toward computer-based learning were assessed on a five-point Likert scale, to calculate Computer usage score (CUS - maximum 55, minimum 11) and Attitude score (AS - maximum 60, minimum 12). The quartile distribution among the groups with respect to the CUS and AS was compared by chi-squared tests. The correlation between CUS and AS was then tested. Results: Eight hundred and seventy-five students agreed to participate in the study and 832 completed the questionnaire. One hundred and twenty eight questionnaires were excluded and 704 were analyzed. Outstation students had significantly lesser computer resources as compared to local students (P<0.0001). The mean CUS for local students (27.0±9.2, Mean±SD) was significantly higher than outstation students (23.2±9.05). No such difference was observed for the AS. The means of CUS and AS did not differ between males and females. The CUS and AS had positive, but weak correlations for all subgroups. Conclusion: The weak correlation between AS and CUS for all students could be explained by the lack of computer resources or inadequate training to use computers for learning. Providing additional resources would benefit the subset of outstation students with lesser computer resources. This weak correlation between the attitudes and practices of all students needs to be investigated. We believe that this gap can be bridged with a structured computer learning program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Postgraduate Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer resources
  • Computer-aided learning
  • India
  • Medical education
  • Preparedness


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