The American Society of Hospital Pharmacists recommends these guidelines for verbal prescription orders:
- Use rarely. Verbal drug orders should only be used in situations where it is impossible for the physician to enter a written or typed order.
- Spell names & numbers. It is important that the drug's name be spelled out to the person on the other end of the line. When ordering dosages, numbers should be spelled as well, taking extra care with easily-confused numbers such as "fifteen" and "fifty."
- Read everything back. The pharmacist should read the order back to the physician slowly and clearly. When directions are repeated, never use abbreviations (such as "b.i.d."). Always read the full use description, such as "two times daily."
- Write a back-up. A written copy of the spoken order should be typed and added to the patient's medical record for confirmation by the pharmacist.
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