As part of our medication reconciliation quality project, we routinely review medications given to our patients. Here are some tips that prescribers can use to write clearer and safer prescriptions.
- Only use “see instructions” if entering a complex dosing regiment such as a taper or varying doses throughout the day. Using “see instructions” removes dose range checking and other safety features and should NOT be used for discrete dosing
- Check that a drug is available before using “non-formulary.” This removes all dose range, drug-drug, and drug-allergy testing if used.
- We see many duplicates in patient medication lists. Check for the existence of a medication before prescribing another one.
- Per the ISMP (Institute for Safe Medication Practices), users should NOT use range doses (e.g. take 1-2 pills as needed). Instead, prescribe the recommended dose for most situations, and in the special instructions, add language such as “may take 2 pills for severe symptoms.”
- If contacting a family by phone, email or portal to change a prescription, remember to change the dosing information in the medication list.