Medical Terminology - Essay Example

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Abbreviations are widely used in various medical fields to save time and effort. They are also used for convenience in medical documentation. However, these abbreviations are commonly misread or misinterpreted, leading to a number of errors which are neither acceptable nor excused…
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Medical Terminology
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1. How can eliminating abbreviations reduce errors Abbreviations are widely used in various medical fields to save time and effort. They are also used for convenience in medical documentation. However, these abbreviations are commonly misread or misinterpreted, leading to a number of errors which are neither acceptable nor excused. These errors may be mainly due to illegible or confused handwriting by clinicians and the failure of health-care providers leading to miscommunication. Hence, it is quite obvious that abbreviation usage has to come to a standstill in order to reduce the errors to a drastic extent considering the safety of the patients.
(http://www.jointcommission .org/sentinel events/sentinel event alert/sea_23.htm)
2.Should written policies be developed for abbreviation usage
Yes, I think that written policies have to be adopted for using abbreviations considering patients' safety. The Stanford Hospital Medical Board has adopted an abbreviation policy which comprises a list of 'approved acronyms, abbreviations and symbols to guide documentation and interpretation of hand-written notes'. Apart from this, the policy also includes a list of 'dangerous abbreviations and symbols' that should not be used. Some vital features of the policy includes that medication names should not be abbreviated and that use of metric system is strongly recommended.
3.When are abbreviations accepted and why
Use of abbreviations, acronyms and symbols is acceptable when used for a valid reason and under proper circumstances. For instance, abbreviations can be standardized and developed by individual organizations. Abbreviations can be accepted when used for a published reference source. A list of acceptable abbreviations can be put forward and a proposal can be laid to individuals who work in a particular organization to use abbreviations, acronyms or symbols that are present in the list.
( Programs/office based surgery/standards/09 FAQS/IM/Acceptable _-abbreviation-_list.htm.)
4. According to the information in the online articles, do you think enough steps have been taken to reduce errors
Yes, I agree that several implementation steps have been taken by various organizations to reduce the number of errors that arise mainly by abbreviation usage.
Some of these steps that are employed are as follows:
a. Some organizations print a list of prohibited abbreviations in large size clearly visible papers/magnets/stickers and place it in medical records/patients case sheets.
b. The list is also displayed on the first page of the intranet.
c. Tent cards are attached with the list to enable clinicians to gothrough the list before writing a prescription.
d. In some organizations, a presentation is done to all physicians/employees to explain poor handwriting and the alarming effects of dangerous abbreviation usage quoting proper examples if any. patient safetygoals/abbr_tips.html)
1.Information Management November 24, 2008.
2.Safety. November 2002.
Stanford School of Medicine.
3.National Patient safety goals, 2009
The Joint Commission. patient safetygoals/abbr_tips.html)
4. Sentinel Events ,2008.
The Joint Commission.
(http://www.jointcommission .org/sentinel events/sentinel event alert/sea_23.htm) Read More
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