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Research Project

Abbreviations and terms, as learned by the legal profession long ago, must be standardized and defined in order for correct communication to occur between people. Just because one person abbreviates Type I diabetes as “Diab-I” does not mean that another person will recognize that abbreviation as meaning Type I diabetes. In fact, that abbreviation could mean “diabetes, initial diagnosis,” or any other number of things. Because the use of abbreviations is, by its very nature, usually personally created “shorthand” that others who are unfamiliar with the writer may not easily understand, they are very easily misunderstood or misinterpreted. Although it takes much longer to write out full words, unless and until certain abbreviations are known to have one, and only one, meaning by a vast majority of people, they should not be used. In many medical situations time is of the essense. Either because of medical urgency or medical practice needs (such as insurance company time management issues) there are many times when a doctor, particularly in his/her private practice does not have the time to write out every single word in a patient’s file or report. However, only if the medical profession as a whole, through the AMA, ADA, state nursing associations, state medical boards, etc. all create a standardized set of abbreviations, similar to what the legal profession has done with Latin terms or the Black’s Law Dictionary, will the use of abbreviations be allowed. These “policies” should not be policies, but standards – broadly used in the medial field. They must strictly define an abbreviation to mean a single thing and then create a reference book, such as that available for prescription medicines, for use by medical professionals and their staff. The industry, as a whole, must emphasize that deviations from this reference set are not permitted due to the danger involved. The Medicare service, under HIPAA has recognized the need…