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"In our current era of transparent, patient-centered medicine, such sentiments would hardly be accepted. Unfortunately, patients are often still in the dark regarding the purposes of their medications. It is said that there are five “rights” required for safe medication ordering and use: the right patient, the right drug, the right dose, the right time, and the right route. But there’s a sixth element that must be correct — and we believe it’s time to add to each prescription an ingredient that’s currently conspicuously missing: the right indication. This pivotal element affects and complements the other five, and considering it a sixth “right” would inform and enhance the safety of each prescription. With most prescriptions now being written electronically, this addition is particularly timely, since electronic medication ordering provides the vehicle for incorporating the indication into prescribing — and is handicapped in various ways without it."


This article was originally published in New England Journal of Medicine, volume 375, issue 4, in 2016. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1603964


Massachusetts Medical Society



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