Pharmacists' Influence Growing in Hospitals

Author: Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor

Pharmacists are more integrated and influential in medication therapy decisions in hospitals than ever before, according to the results of an annual survey conducted by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP).

The findings demonstrate that the pharmacist’s role in patient care continues to grow, according to ASHP Vice President Douglas J. Scheckelhoff, one of the study’s authors. “Throughout the survey, there is significant evidence that pharmacists’ unique expertise is sought after and valued by other health care providers,” he said in a statement. “This includes the increase in hospitals providing 24-hour review of medication orders by pharmacists, and the growing ways that pharmacists provide leadership in the medication-use system.”

The results of the ASHP National Survey of Pharmacy Practice in Hospital Settings: Prescribing and Transcribing 2010 are published in the April 15 issue of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

According to the report, the rate at which prescribers accept pharmacists’ recommendation has increased dramatically over the last decade, most significantly in the areas of antibiotic use (94% in 2010 compared to 55.5% in 2001), pain management (98.9% in 2010 compared to 65.9% in 2001), dosage adjustment (99.3% in 2010 compared to 72.7% in 2001), and anticoagulation therapy (98% in 2010 compared to 73.2% in 2001).

More key findings from the survey are as follows: For the survey, ASHP surveyed a stratified random sample of pharmacy directors at 1968 general and children’s medical-surgical hospitals in the United States, via Internet and mail. ASHP conducts the survey annually to examine trends in pharmacy practice over time, focusing on one of three themes on a rotating basis. This year, the survey focused on prescribing and transcription issues. Other years have focused on dispensing and administration and medication monitoring and patient education.

To view the full study, click here.