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Table 14 Guideline recommendations to improve handwritten prescriptions

From: Using total quality management approach to improve patient safety by preventing medication error incidences**

Guideline Recommendations to Improve Handwritten Prescriptions
1. Always write legibly.
2. Provide complete information with orders and prescriptions, e.g., patient’s full name, date of birth, weight if appropriate.
3. Do not use abbreviations for drug names.
4. Provide clear, unambiguous, and complete directions for use.
5. Do not use abbreviations for use that can be confused.
6. Use the metric system only.
7. Do not use trailing zeros (1.0 g).
8. Always use a zero before a decimal point (0.1 mg).
9. Spell out “units”; never use abbreviation “U”.
10. Do not use “μg” to abbreviate micrograms.
11. Always provide dosing equation, patient weight or body surface area, and calculated doses for chemotherapies and pediatric patients.
12. Provide indication for medication use with prescriptions.
13. Use verbal orders only when necessary. Have the receiving person read the order back. Spell out potential sound and look alike drugs.
14. Always write complete orders.
15. Always write out all orders; do not write orders such as “resume pre-op meds”.