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Telephone and Verbal Orders

Save Phone Orders for Outside the Hospital & Verbal Orders for Emergencies

The Joint Commission now requires that all telephone orders be verified by a physician within 48 hours. This Joint Commission requirement applies to ALL orders, in addition to medication.

"Physicians need to physically sign the patient's chart or sign it on Web/VS with their electronic signature within the 48-hour period," says Robert M. (Matt) Bernstein, M.D., who serves with Michael D. Borookhim, M.D., and Rajeev Rao, M.D., as members of the medical staff Leadership Development Committee that oversees this issue. "We would like to see all of our physicians use Web/VS with electronic signature and limit telephone orders to those important to immediate care, and to use verbal orders for emergency or urgent situations only."

Physicians can fax orders to nursing units or the nursing office, or come to the nursing unit to write their orders.

"Our goal is to dramatically reduce the number of telephone orders so that nurses won't be taken away from patient care and have to spend so much time putting orders in PCX," said Dr. Bernstein.

Regarding verbal orders, it is Cedars-Sinai's policy that nurses will not accept verbal orders unless it is a life-threatening situation or in the OR/procedure area when a physician is scrubbed.

For more information about these policies, please contact Dr. Bernstein at Robert.Bernstein@cshs.org.