Errors in Medical Abbreviations

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Abbreviations in the medical field make it 10 times easier and quicker but elimination some of these abbreviations can help reduce errors. (1) Through new technologies such as computerized order entry systems are being introduced into heath care. It is estimated that currently 5 percent of US physicians utilize these systems and write there prescriptions electronically. If more physicians used this system it would automatically reduce the errors. If some of the more common misused abbreviations were eliminated then that would automatically reduce some of the errors.

Policies should be written and enforced for abbreviation usage. (2) In 2004 the Joint Commission created its “do not use” list of abbreviations as part of the requirements for meeting that goal. In 2010, NPSG.02.02.01 was integrated into the Information Management standards as elements of performance 2 and 3 under IM.02.02.01. The policies should also contain the use of comely misused symbols . Physicians’ need to write more legible when using abbreviations as well.

Abbreviations are not always acceptable and not always necessary, and not everyone

should use them. There are a lot of abbreviations out there in the medical field and only

people who are trained in them should be using them. (3) Some abbreviations, symbols

and dose designations are frequently misinterpreted and lead to mistakes that result in

patient harm. The ISMP-FDA campaign seeks to promote safe practices and prevent

serious and even potentially fatal mistakes when communicating medication orders.

The campaign focuses on eliminating the use of error-prone abbreviations by healthcare

professionals and students, medical communications and publishing professionals, the

pharmaceutical industry, and FDA staff. ISMP and the FDA plan to reach those audiences

through targeted educational materials, articles in professional journals, and presentations

at key conferences and meetings....
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