Error-Prone Symbols

ERROR-PRONE SYMBOLS

The symbols found in this table have been reported
to the Institute for Safe Medical Practices (ISMP)
through the ISMP Medication Error Reporting Program
as being frequently misinterpreted and involved
in harmful medication errors. These symbols should
never be used when communicating medical
information.

Symbol Intended 
Meaning
Misinterpretation Correction
ʒ Dram Mistaken as “3” Use the metric system
Minim Mistaken as “mL” Use the metric system
x3d For three days Mistaken as “3 doses” Use “for three days”
> and < Greater than and less than Mistaken as opposite of intended; incorrect symbol used mistakenly; “<10” mistaken as “40” (forty) Use “greater than” or “less than”
/
(slash mark)
Separates two doses
or indicates “per”
Mistaken as the number 1 (eg, “25 units/10units” misread as “25 units and 110 units”) Use “per” rather than a slash mark to separate doses
@ At Mistaken as “2” Use “at”
& And Mistaken as “2” Use “and”
+ Plus or and Mistaken as “4” Use “and”
° Hour Mistaken as a zero (eg, q2° seen as q 20) Use “hr”, “h”, or “hour”
REFERENCES

Source: Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Error-Prone Abbreviations, Symbols, and Dose Designations. 2013.

Available at: http://www.ismp.org/Tools/
errorproneabbreviations.pdf
.

(Rev. 12/2014)

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