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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