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ASHP Taps Cardinal Health Experts to Author Industry Standard Guide on Compliance with Accreditation and Medication Safety Standards

Nation’s Foremost Experts in Hospital Pharmacy Management Share Best Practices to Help Hospitals Avoid Common Compliance Pitfalls

HOUSTON, June 24, 2010 — Thought leaders and pharmacists Pat Uselton, Patricia Kienle and Lee Murdaugh, who lead the Quality and Regulatory Affairs team within Cardinal Health’s Pharmacy Solutions business, are once again co-authors of the most recent edition of Assuring Continuous Compliance with Joint Commission Standards: A Pharmacy Guide, published by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

This ASHP guide is a resource for complying with Joint Commission, American Osteopathic Association, and Det Norske Veritas (DNV) Healthcare accreditation standards that hospitals need to meet in order to be eligible for reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

It is informed by insights gleaned from Cardinal Health’s more than 1,000 licensed hospital pharmacists, who manage hundreds of hospital pharmacies across the United States and complete more than 120 accreditation surveys and audits each year. 

The guide also shares best practices that can improve the safety of all facets of a hospital’s medication system, from medication selection, storage and ordering to medication dispensing, administration and monitoring.

“About one third of all hospitals that complete accreditation surveys end up receiving a recommendation to change practices related to their medication storage or ordering systems,” said Pat Uselton, vice president of quality and regulatory affairs for Cardinal Health’s Pharmacy Solutions business. “This guide can help hospitals address those types of issues ahead of time, by sharing best practices that can help them improve the medication management processes that are most frequently flagged by accreditation agencies.”

Uselton says that reviewing each medication order prior to its administration to a patient is a key step that can help hospitals address medication storage and ordering issues. The guide also shares other best practices to improve medication safety, explaining how to:

  • Handle placement of look-alike or sound-alike medications to minimize the potential for mix-up
  • Implement safeguards for high-alert medications to reduce the potential for medication errors
  • Properly control sample medications in clinics
  • Properly store products requiring special temperature control 
  • Use ‘black box’ warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review the safety of medications available for ordering by the medical staff
  • Minimize the use of abbreviations in medication orders
  • Reconcile medications to promote safe and effective use during a patient’s stay in the hospital and after patient discharge
  • Improve patient safety in all areas where medications are ordered and administered, including the surgical suite, interventional radiology and endoscopy labs
  • Use off-site pharmacists to provide order review when hospitals do not have 24-hour pharmacy coverage; and
  • Properly label medications during surgery and other invasive procedures

Hospitals and health systems wanting to learn more about how Cardinal Health’s hospital pharmacy experts can help them implement best practices to assure continuous compliance with Joint Commission Standards can contact 1.877.300.9180.

The 8th edition of Assuring Continuous Compliance with Joint Commission Standards: A Pharmacy Guide is published by ASHP and available for purchase at

About Cardinal Health
Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, Cardinal Health, Inc. (NYSE: CAH) is a $96 billion health care services company that improves the cost-effectiveness of health care. As the business behind health care, Cardinal Health helps pharmacies, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and physician offices focus on patient care while reducing costs, improving efficiency and quality, and increasing profitability. Cardinal Health is an essential link in the health care supply chain, providing pharmaceuticals and medical products to more than 60,000 locations each day. The company is also a leading manufacturer of medical and surgical products, including gloves, surgical apparel and fluid management products. In addition, the company supports the growing diagnostic industry by supplying medical products to clinical laboratories and operating the nation's largest network of radiopharmacies that dispense products to aid in the early diagnosis and treatment of disease. Ranked #17 on the Fortune 500, Cardinal Health employs more than 30,000 people worldwide. More information about the company may be found at

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