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Complexity of medication-related verbal orders
American Journal of Medical Quality
  • D. S. Wakefield
  • M. M. Ward
  • D. Groath
  • T. Schwichtenberg
  • L. Magdits
  • Jane M. Brokel, University of Iowa
  • D. Crandall
Document Type
Peer Reviewed
Publication Date
NLM Title Abbreviation
Am J Med Qual
PubMed ID
DOI of Published Version
Verbal orders are a common practice in hospitals but there has been little systematic study about them. Although the potential for harm arising from the miscommunication and misunderstanding of verbal orders has been recognized, there is very little research examining their complexity. This article provides a descriptive analysis of one hospital's medication-related verbal-order events for a 1-week period. Among other things, this analysis demonstrates the presence of great variability across different patient care units related to when and the way in which verbal orders are communicated and the numbers and types of individual medication-related orders communicated within a single verbal-order event. The discussion identifies 3 categories of factors potentially contributing to the complexity of verbal orders and the potential for miscommunication, misunderstanding, and patient harm: Verbal Ordering Process and Content, Verbal Order Makers, and Verbal Order Takers.
  • Comprehension,
  • Drug Prescriptions,
  • Health Care Surveys,
  • Hospital Units,
  • Humans,
  • Interdisciplinary Communication,
  • Medical Audit,
  • Medical Staff,
  • Hospital/psychology/standards,
  • Medication Systems,
  • Hospital/standards,
  • Midwestern United States,
  • Verbal Behavior
Published Article/Book Citation
American Journal of Medical Quality, 23:1 (2008) pp.7-17. DOI:10.1177/1062860607310922.
Citation Information
D. S. Wakefield, M. M. Ward, D. Groath, T. Schwichtenberg, et al.. "Complexity of medication-related verbal orders" American Journal of Medical Quality Vol. 23 Iss. 1 (2008) p. 7 - 17 ISSN: 1062-8606
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