ASHP national survey of pharmacy practice in hospital settings: Dispensing and administration - 2002

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Results of the 2002 ASHP national survey of pharmacy practice in hospital settings that pertain to dispensing and administration are presented. A stratified random sample of pharmacy directors at 1101 general and children's medical-surgical hospitals in the United States were surveyed by mail. SMG Marketing Group, Inc., supplied data on hospital characteristics; the survey sample was drawn from SMG's hospital database. The response rate was 46.7%. During 2002, both inpatient and outpatient hours of service increased compared with 2001. Paradoxically, there was an 8.5% decrease in pharmacy staffing and a 7% vacancy rate, suggesting that pharmacists are busier. Most hospitals (80%) had a centralized inpatient dispensing system, but 44% were planning to become more decentralized. Automated dispensing cabinets were used by 58% of hospitals with decentralized drug distribution systems. Most hospitals (81.4%) dispensed more than three quarters of oral doses as unit doses and 63.3% of injectable doses to non-critical care patients, increases from 1999. A large percentage of hospitals (89%) repackaged both oral and injectable medications. More hospitals were repackaging medications than three years ago, primarily because of lack of commercial availability. Approximately 20% of pharmacies either partially or completely outsourced drug preparation activities. Nurses administered medications in virtually all hospitals (99.7%). Despite widespread recommendations to use bar-code technology to check and document doses administered, only 1.5% of hospitals used this technology, an increase from 1.1% in 1999. Nearly two thirds of hospitals used computer-generated medication administration records. While pharmaceutical services are expanding, workforce issues continue to challenge pharmacists trying to maintain and enhance safe medication systems. Safe systems continue to be in place in most hospitals, but the adoption of new technology to improve safety is slow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-68
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Automation
  • Codes
  • Computers
  • Contract services
  • Data collection
  • Dispensing
  • Documentation
  • Drug administration
  • Manpower
  • Packaging
  • Pediatrics
  • Personnel, pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical services
  • Pharmacy, institutional, hospital
  • Safety
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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