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November 7, 2001

Reducing Medication Errors—Reply

Author Affiliations

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

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

In Reply: Dr Strand suggests that all prescriptions should include a duration and diagnosis. I agree regarding duration, although diagnosis is more complicated. Every additional field that is added takes time. In England, addition of the mandatory diagnosis field met with major resistance from primary care providers who were using an electronic record.1 Nonetheless, inclusion of the diagnosis would be highly desirable for all the reasons Strand mentions, especially for medications with multiple indications. Our hospital now requires a diagnosis for certain medications, such as ondansetron, for which the dosage varies by indication. With drop-down lists and electronic prescribing, this should not be too onerous.

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