ASHP national survey of pharmacy practice in hospital settings: Dispensing and administration - 2005

Craig A. Pedersen, Philip J. Schneider, Douglas J. Scheckelhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Purpose. Results of the 2005 ASHP national survey of pharmacy practice in hospital settings that pertain to dispensing and administration are presented. Methods. A stratified random sample of pharmacy directors at 1173 general and children's medical-surgical hospitals in the United States was surveyed by mail. Results. The response rate was 43.5%. Most hospitals had a centralized drug distribution system; however, there is evidence of growth in decentralized models compared with data from 2002. Automated dispensing cabinets were used by 72% of hospitals and robots by 15%. The percentage of doses dispensed in unit dose form increased, as did the use of two-pharmacist checks for high-risk drugs and high-risk patient groups. However, the percentage of medication preparation and dispensing quality-improvement programs declined over the past six years. Medication administration records (MARs) have become increasingly computerized over the past six years. Consequently, the use of handwritten MARs has declined substantially. Technology implemented at the administration step of the medication-use process is continuing to grow. Bar-code technology was implemented by 9.4% of hospitals, and 32.2% of hospitals had smart infusion pumps. Pharmacy hours of operation were stable, with 30% of hospitals providing around-the-clock services. About 12% of hospitals are using off-site medication order review and entry after hours. Pharmacy staffing has steadily increased over the past three years; however, hospital pharmacies reported a 5.6% vacancy rate. Conclusion. Safe systems continue to be in place in most hospitals, but the adoption of new technology is changing the philosophy of medication distribution. Pharmacists are continuing to improve medication use at the dispensing and administration steps of the medication-use process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-345
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2006


  • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
  • Automation
  • Codes
  • Computers
  • Data collection
  • Devices
  • Dispensing
  • Drug administration
  • Drug distribution systems
  • Drug use
  • Hours
  • Manpower
  • Pharmaceutical services
  • Pharmacists, hospital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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