Dangerous Abbreviations in Medical Transcription

by Bobbi on July 17, 2010

I get updates monthly from work that give me a heads up on things that are changing and new things in medical transcription.  The dangerous abbreviations list was in there again and the last date it had on it was September 2009.

I read the information they had in the AHDI Book of Style (page 206) regarding the Joint Commission information and that was very good.

There is a list that all facilities must comply with at this point and then some that they have an option on but most comply with all to keep it consistent.

This is what is on my list of abbreviations that are considered dangerous and are not acceptable for use:

The intended meaning is Micrograms but can be mistaken for mg. This could result in an overdose.

We are to use mcg.

U or u
The intended meaning is Units but can be mistaken as a zero or a 4, resulting in overdose.  It can also be mistaken for cc (cubic centimeters) if written poorly.

Unit has no acceptable abbreviation so use unit.

Q.O.D. or q.o.d.
The intended meaning is every other day.  This has been misinterpreted as QD or QID.  If the O is poorly written, it looks like a period or I.

Use every other day.

Q.D. or QD
The intended meaning is every day.  The period after the Q has been mistaken for an I, and the drug has been given QID (4 times daily) rather than daily.

Use daily or every day.

The intended meaning is subcutaneous and that has been mistaken for SL (sublingual) when poorly written.

Use subcut or write subcutaneous.

The intended meaning is cubic centimeters which is mistaken as U (units) when poorly written.

Use mL.

X.0 mg, .X mg
The intended meaning is trailing zero, lack of leading zero and the misinterpretation is the decimal point is missed.

Never write a zero by itself after a decimal point (X mg), and always use a zero before a decimal point (0.X mg).

The intended use is for international unit which has been mistaken as IV (intravenous) or 10 (ten).

Write out international unit.

MS, MS04, MgS04 are confused for one another.  It can mean morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate.

Write out morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dani August 11, 2010 at 1:59 am

The best way I have found of avoiding mistakes on the dangerous abbreviations is putting them in my expanders.

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