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samples and other specimens for clinical testing, or providing any other treatments or procedures. In addition, containers used for blood and other specimens should be labeled in the presence of the patient.

Goal 2 Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers

A.

For verbal or telephone orders or for telephonic reporting of critical test results, verify the complete order or test result by having the person receiving the order or test result "read-back" the complete order or test result.

B.

Standardize a list of abbreviations, acronyms and symbols that are not to be used throughout the organization.

The following table displays the unsafe abbreviations that should not be used as well as the preferred term.

Abbreviations and Dose Expressions No Longer Valid

Valid

Abbreviation

Safe Term

IU

write "International Unit"

QD

write "Daily"

Q.O.D. or QOD

write "Every Other Day"

U

write "Unit"

Trailing zero after decimal point (e.g. 1.0mg)

Do not use zeros for dose, express as whole number (e.g. 1mg)

No zero for dose before decimal point (e.g. .5mg)

Leading zero begins at decimal dose (e.g. 0.5mg)

Drug Name Abbreviations

Valid

MgS04

write "Magnesium sulfate"

MS, MS04

write "Morphine sulfate

C.

Measure, assess and, if appropriate, take action to improve the timeliness of reporting, and the timeliness of receipt by the responsible licensed caregiver, of critical test results and values.

D.

Implement a standardized approach to “hand off” communications, including an opportunity to ask and respond to questions.

Goal 3 Improve the safety of using medications

A.

Standardize and limit the number of drug concentrations available in the organization.

B.

Identify and, at a minimum, annually review a list of look-alike/sound-alike drugs used in the organization, and take action to prevent errors involving the interchange of these drugs.

March 17, 2009

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