Safety campaign aims to eliminate abbreviations

September 1, 2006

In an effort to improve patient safety, a nationwide educational campaign was recently launched to encourage physicians, pharmacists, and others to spell out crucial medical terms. The initiative aims to eliminate commonly used abbreviations that can cause medication errors, according to American Medical News (7/17/2006).

In an effort to improve patient safety, a nationwide educational campaign was recently launched to encourage physicians, pharmacists, and others to spell out crucial medical terms. The initiative aims to eliminate commonly used abbreviations that can cause medication errors, according to American Medical News (7/17/2006).

The American Medical Association and Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations already encourage physicians and others to avoid the use of abbreviations in written orders, telephone or verbal prescriptions, medication administration records, and other communications. Some of the abbreviations that physicians and others should spell out include:

The Food and Drug Administration in conjunction with the Institute of Safe Medication Practices launched the initiative in June. A list of error-prone abbreviations to avoid is available on the FDA Web site at http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/mederrors or the ISMP Web site at http:// http://www.ismp.org/tools/errorproneabbreviations.pdf.