The use of potentially dangerous terminology, abbreviations and dose expressions when communicating about medicines, contributes significantly to medication errors. Standardisation has been identified as a key strategy in reducing these errors.
principles for safe, clear and consistent terminology for medicines
list of safe terms, abbreviations and dose designations for medicines
A list of error prone abbreviations, symbols and dose designations to be avoided can be found in the Spell it Out standards.
These principles and recommendations apply to:
all medications orders or prescriptions that are handwritten or pre-printed, computer generated (printed hard copy) or electronic
all communication and records concerning medicines, including telephone, verbal orders, prescriptions, medication administration records and labels for drug storage
Although these standards provide recommendations they are not all inclusive.
There may also be specific circumstances where other terminology may be considered safe. Before deciding to include such terminology in local policies, consider the principles outlined in the Recommendations.
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