How Will Eliminating Abbreviation Eliminate Errors In The Medical Field?


3 Answers

Daniel Tagliento Profile
With all the difficulty in just deciphering the handwriting shortfall processed by most script writers...when will a computer program be mandatory to produce a screen projected image which presents a clearly visible and understandable to the viewer, usually the dispenser.
helen baillie-gutteridge Profile
The difficulty with abbreviations is that the same abbreviation may mean different things to different professions, leading to misunderstandings.
Even something simple like "BF", which to clerks means "bring forward" and to podiatrists "both feet" can cause confusion.
The problem with writing longhand is self-explanatory - it takes longer! Which is something that Health Managers do not wish to acknowledge as they pressure staff to treat more and more patients. So the next time you see a Health Professional and they seem a bit hurried - feel sympathy for them!
Hly NZ Profile
Hly NZ answered
It really just boils down to paitient safety and "best practice". As with a lot of industries, using abbreviations leaves room for interpretation. When that interpretation is incorrect, there are consequences. Obviously with something as important as the health (or potentially life) of a human being, if abbreviations are misinterpreted and the wrong medication given for example, the result could be lethal.

The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organization released this list here (NB: It is a pdf document) of "error-prone" abbreviations and notes they not be used. It goes on to also say that there are a lot more that should be avoided, and basically the less they are used the better.

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