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Unapproved Abbreviation Use is on the Rise Again
After the excellent gains made in reducing the use of unapproved or dangerous abbreviations at Cedars-Sinai, the number of violations has started creeping up again.

Data collected from March to September 2006 shows an average of 20 violations per week until the month of August, when the number of violations climbed to an all-time high of 80 in the second week. Although these numbers dropped in September, they remain at an average of 40 per week. This represents a 100 percent increase in the use of unapproved abbreviations since March.

The abbreviations most commonly misused are QD or QOD in lieu of "every day" or "every other day," followed by U instead of Units. Other violations include trailing zeros or absent zeros and the use of MS/MS04/MgS04 when morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate should be written out clearly.

"While the use of these abbreviations may seem innocuous, continuing to do so raises the potential for medication errors which compromise the safety of our patients," said Paul Silka, M.D., Chief of Staff.