Medi-Span® offers its drug descriptive data in a variety of formats, including unformatted flat files and data with accompanying application programming interface (API) software. Since the inception of Medi-Span, its data has represented liquid volumes in “mL,” as required by NCPDP Billing Unit Standards. This creates consistency within in data and conforms to most agencies’ standards, but we believe it is also important in promoting patient safety by helping reduce dosing errors.
In 2009, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) issued a white paper for healthcare professionals, electronic medical records (EMR) software developers and pharmacy computer system vendors in an effort to eliminate the use of non-metric measurements, such as “teaspoonful” and “tablespoonful” or associated variations like “tsp,” to prevent medication errors in prescription directions. As supported by ISMP case reports, the disparity between the actual volume measured by using a household teaspoon or tablespoon as well as the possible confusion between the two can easily lead to incorrect dosing, especially in the pediatric population.
Even though Medi-Span has consistently used “mL” in dose screening databases and in drug orders/directions for use (SIG) database that is used during electronic prescribing, in support of the ISMP initiative, we reviewed our clinical database offerings to make sure that no non-metric measurements were included. .
Medi-Span offers dosing-related modules that are embedded into workflow applications for use by clinicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. The dosing-related modules are also used by payers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) for processing drug claims. Like all Medi-Span data, the dosing data uses only the metric designation “mL” as a unit of measure for liquids. Vendors that use Medi-Span flat file data in their software are encouraged to use “mL” in any alert messages, just as the Medi-Span APIs use “mL” units for alert messages.
Through our sister brands Lexicomp® and Facts and Comparisons®, Wolters Kluwer Health provides a variety of print and electronic referential drug information offerings. These offerings also use metric units (such as “mL”) in lieu of non-metric units (such as “teaspoonful”) when presenting information about drug products or dosing, thus creating consistent liquid dosing designations across all Wolters Kluwer Health drug information resources.