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Verbal orders and patient safety: a call for a defined research agenda

This issue of QSHC focuses a critical look at verbal orders and their role in healthcare quality and patient safety. A critical review points out that, while verbal orders have been identified as a potential source of error, they have not been explored in depth, but there is little empirical evidence to support limiting their use. Nevertheless the potential for miscommunication and misunderstanding argues for a systematic approach to verbal orders. A related paper from the same research team provides detailed analyses from two exploratory studies that systematically examined the content and context of verbal orders. The findings indicate that verbal orders: represent a substantial portion of all orders; …

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