Table 2

Criteria for inclusion and exclusion of articles for the literature review on effectiveness of automated and semi-automated drug distribution systems (DDSs) in hospitals

Inclusion criteriaExclusion criteria
Type of DDS,
Problem (P)
Automated and semi-automated ward-based drug dispensing systems (eg, ADCs), pharmacy-based drug dispensing systems (eg, centralised UDSs and BC based medication dispensing carousels) and different combinations of these systems in acute hospitalsStudies performed in community settings (eg, community pharmacy or nursing homes)
Inpatient units with slower than daily distribution process
Studies with only manual DDS were excluded. Studies using BC or RFID medication administration to the patient, without any description or evaluation of the automated system used in hospital
Focus of the study,
Intervention (I)
Automation or technology is used in drug distribution process
Explores DDSs, described in articles, and evaluates their effects on medication safety, time or costs
Studies descibing only the introduction of the new automated system
No description or any evaluation of the DDS
Comparison (C)Control group is not required
Outcomes (O)Studies using various research methods and outcome measures (time, cost and safety aspects) are included
Time (T)Studies published from early 2005 to May 2016Studies published before 2005 or after May 2016
Study design (S)All methods and study designs are accepted for inclusion
Peer reviewed journal articles
Systematic review articles
Non-scientific publications: letters, editorials, news and commentaries.
Articles published in professional publications or other non-scientific publications.
OthersEnglish language
Full-text available via University of Helsinki or online
Full-text not available via University of Helsinki or online
  • ADC, automated dispensing cabinet; BC, barcode;DDS, drug distribution system; RFID, radio frequency identification; UDS, unit-dose system.