The use of medical abbreviations all too often leads to medication mistakes that result in patient harm. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the ISMP (Institute for Safe Medication Practices) have begun a national campaign to educate medical professionals in the use of proper medical terms to avoid misuse by consumers. The campaign is attempting to promote safe practices in the communication of medical information in order to reduce the amount of mistakes resulting in patient injury.
The FDA is recommending that healthcare professionals consider changing the way medical abbreviations are used. It is important to discern between medical abbreviations that leave room for error and those that are clearly meant for only one type of medication.
The FDA has proposed that a new format be implemented in the labeling of prescription drugs in order to reduce the number of medical errors in prescribing medications. It is estimated that this type of medical error is responsible for approximately 98,000 deaths in the United States each year. The FDA’s proposal will make medical information available in readable, consistent and clear format.
The package insert, which is referred to as the prescription drug product labeling, is the primary means for drug information to be communicated to practitioners. The FDA reviews and approves product labeling proposed by manufacturers through this insert. Many practitioners find the labeling to be complex, lengthy and difficult to use. The result is that crucial information is overlooked or missed, causing medical errors and ineffective treatments to take place.
New labeling will offer highlights to the most important information on the label and an easier reference to the most used information contained therein. It also would provide the location of more detailed information elsewhere on the label. The intent of the proposed changes in product labeling is to increase the effectiveness of medical treatments and decrease the incidence of medical errors.
If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of medical labeling errors, please contact Robbins & Associates today to find out what your rights are.