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Medical abbreviations on the “Do-not-use” list

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has placed certain medical abbreviations on the “do-not-use” list because of their probability of misinterpretation, leading to dosing errors and serious medical malpractice. For exam, “IU” is often used by physicians or others in the medical field to mean “international unit.” However, it is often mistaken for “IV” (intravenous) or the number 10, which could lead to serious mistakes in administering medicine. The Official “Do Not Use” list applies, at a minimum, to all orders and all medication-related documentation that is handwritten or on pre-printed forms. Unfortunately, the medical field is not sufficiently complying: failure to substantially eliminate the use of such abbreviations is one of the most frequent non-compliance findings during Joint Commission reviews.

For the Official “Do Not Use” List.