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November 7, 2001

Reducing Medication Errors

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor


Copyright 2001 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2001

JAMA. 2001;286(17):2091-2092. doi:10.1001/jama.286.17.2091

To the Editor: In his Clinical Crossroads article about medication errors, Dr Bates1 states that the "key parameters" of prescribing are drug name, dose, route, and frequency. To help reduce medication errors, 2 more components need to be added: duration of treatment and diagnosis. If a diagnosis of "human immunodeficiency virus infection" had been indicated on the prescription, pharmacy staff would have noticed that the patient, Ms K, had been prescribed the wrong medications. Adding duration of treatment and diagnosis would also provide an opportunity for physicians to double-check for errors when writing prescriptions.

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