In late 2022, the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists published the Hospital Pharmacy in Canada Survey Report 2020/21, the 22nd edition of this monumental resource and the second edition published under the auspices of CSHP.
“Monumental” certainly describes the level of effort, resources, and volunteer time dedicated to this project. It also reflects the obstacles encountered in putting it together, most particularly the COVID-19 pandemic, which the hospital pharmacy community and the Hospital Pharmacy in Canada Survey Board overcame to make this happen. Still not behind us at the end of 2022, the pandemic was responsible for a four-year gap between editions, instead of the usual two-year timeframe. For the first year of the pandemic, asking Canadian hospital pharmacies to shift their focus from managing the unprecedented crisis to completing a complex survey, no matter how important the work, was simply unthinkable.
By 15 months into the pandemic, hospital pharmacies had found ways to negotiate the crisis, and nearly 150 managed to complete the survey, despite surging and receding COVID-19 waves. We are extremely grateful to these hospital pharmacy teams for their commitment to providing the information that underpins the immense longitudinal value of the survey. And because their participation fell in the midst of the crisis, professional pharmacy staff captured real-time data that translates into the solid evidence documented in this report and upon which hospitals and healthcare systems will rely as we navigate the next crisis, whatever form it takes.
Beyond the hospital pharmacy teams, CSHP is indebted to each of the Hospital Pharmacy in Canada Survey Board members, whose volunteer commitment made this massive report possible, in spite of the effects of the pandemic on their professional and personal obligations. Sincere thanks are due to Executive Editor Richard Jones for his steady leadership in this, his third and final edition of the survey report and to the organizational mastery of Managing Editor Carolyn Dittmar. The Survey Board members, who are the authors and editors of the report, are second to none: André Bonnici, Jean-François Bussières, Bal Dhillon, Douglas Doucette, Kyle MacNair, Debra Merrill, Allan Mills, and Régis Vaillancourt.
The importance of our sponsors cannot be overstated. The resources of Pfizer Canada, Pendopharm/Pharmascience Canada Inc., and Baxter Canada supported both the survey and the resulting report. Primary research like this is expensive, despite the hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours. This generous external funding made possible the complex survey programming, scientific editing, translation, and final publication. As always, editorial direction from our corporate partners was neither sought nor offered. They and we simply share a dedication to the overriding quality of the survey and its findings.
The newest edition of the Hospital Pharmacy in Canada Survey Report is a permanent record of the status of hospital pharmacy in Canada’s healthcare systems in 2020/21. As we all know, advocacy is one of CSHP’s main pillars. Even as it serves the profession, this advocacy is ultimately targeted to improving patient outcomes in a systemic way. Such advances can only be achieved with expertise and evidence. This report does not advocate in and of itself, but it puts the reported data into many hands in many organizations: hospitals, universities, colleges, other healthcare professions, patient groups, industry, legislators, regulators, and government agencies.
Indeed, over the past four decades, pharmacy directors have used the survey’s staffing ratios to build the case for increasing human resources, its drug distribution findings to support adoption of robotic automation in the pharmacy, and its data about pharmacy technician practice to reconfigure teams for optimal clinical practice. Furthermore, the survey provides trending information that allows leaders to make decisions about the evolution of their departments’ practice and to determine whether they are leading or trailing behind regional or national rates of technology adoption. And let’s not forget the many times that survey reports have been cited in these very pages over the years since the project was initiated, when it was known as the “Lilly Hospital Survey”.
The Hospital Pharmacy in Canada Survey Report 2020/21, realized through the collective work of pharmacy teams, CSHP volunteers, and supporters, gives us the means to create optimal outcomes for our patients, to support excellence in the profession, and to achieve meaningful, lasting change in Canada’s healthcare systems.
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Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy, VOLUME 76, NUMBER 2, Spring 2023