The effectiveness of hospital pharmacy in the UK: methodology for finding the evidence
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Objective: To describe the methodology used to identify United Kingdom (UK) hospital pharmacy practice research work from the last two decades.
Method: A comprehensive search for citations that appeared to contribute to the overall evidence or in some way measure, demonstrate or evaluate the effectiveness of UK hospital pharmacy practice. This involved a search of thirteen electronic databases covering a wide variety of UK, European and international publications, hand searching of selected UK journals and conference proceedings, a written request for details sent to all UK Chief Pharmacists and Directors of Pharmacy and a bibliography search of each reference identified. All appropriate references were then added to a single computer database.
Main outcome measure: Number of references identified by each strand of the search strategy.
Results: The search initially highlighted a total of 10,099 articles from the thirteen reference databases, but only 281 were considered suitable for inclusion in the final review. Hand searching of the selected journals and conference proceedings yielded another 173 references and the written requests to hospital chief pharmacists resulted in another 128 references being identified. Finally, bibliography searches of the articles identified by the above three methods resulted in another 242 references, bringing the total number of references to 824.
Conclusion: This paper describes a strategy to identify a comprehensive collection of citations supporting the evidence for the effectiveness of hospital pharmaceutical services in the UK. The large number of references identified demonstrate that hospital pharmacists in the UK make significant contributions to both the research literature and to patient care. However, database searches alone highlighted just 34% of the total references finally included in this study, demonstrating that pharmacy practice research work may be difficult to access by conducting database searches alone. The results from this project provide a resource for the profession and can be utilised as a foundation for future developments in both the delivery and research of hospital pharmacy practice.
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