Evaluating the effectiveness of self-administration of medication (SAM) schemes in the hospital setting: a systematic review of the literature

Suzanna J. Richardson, Hannah L. Brooks, George Bramley, Jamie J. Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
1190 Downloads (Pure)


Self-administration of medicines is believed to increase patients' understanding about their medication and to promote their independence and autonomy in the hospital setting. The effect of inpatient self-administration of medication (SAM) schemes on patients, staff and institutions is currently unclear.

To systematically review the literature relating to the effect of SAM schemes on the following outcomes: patient knowledge, patient compliance/medication errors, success in self-administration, patient satisfaction, staff satisfaction, staff workload, and costs.

Keyword and text word searches of online databases were performed between January and March 2013. Included articles described and evaluated inpatient SAM schemes. Case studies and anecdotal studies were excluded.

43 papers were included for final analysis. Due to the heterogeneity of results and unclear findings it was not possible to perform a quantitative synthesis of results. Participation in SAM schemes often led to increased knowledge about drugs and drug regimens, but not side effects. However, the effect of SAM schemes on patient compliance/medication errors was inconclusive. Patients and staff were highly satisfied with their involvement in SAM schemes.

SAM schemes appear to provide some benefits (e.g. increased patient knowledge), but their effect on other outcomes (e.g. compliance) is unclear. Few studies of high methodological quality using validated outcome measures exist. Inconsistencies in both measuring and reporting outcomes across studies make it challenging to compare results and draw substantive conclusions about the effectiveness of SAM schemes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere113912
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2014


  • Patients
  • Database searching
  • Nurses
  • Drug administration
  • Drugs
  • Inpatients
  • Pharmacists
  • Global health


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluating the effectiveness of self-administration of medication (SAM) schemes in the hospital setting: a systematic review of the literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this