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Top Ten Ways to Evaluate Chronologies

Top Ten Ways to Evaluate Chronologies

metoolkit_coverChronologies may be prepared by a legal nurse consultant to achieve many objectives. For example, a chronology may intend to focus on precise timing of events, correlate several factors, define deviations from the standards of care related to events, compare the observations of different providers, or contrast deposition testimony with the events recorded in the medical record. The top ten ways to evaluate the quality of a chronology are as follows:

1. Is the font easy to read? Times New Roman or Arial are two fonts that are commonly used and easy to read.

2. Is there a header at the top of the page?

3. Is there light shading to the title row to set it off?

4. Are the dates consistently formatted? For example, the chronology should either use numbers, such as 1/25/05 or words, such as January 25, 2005 but not both formats within the same document.

5. Is the time consistently formatted? Many people find military time confusing and prefer that military time is translated into AM and PM for ease of understanding.

6. Are entries written in complete sentences?

7. Are medical abbreviations spelled out the first time they are used? For example, the sentence may say, β€œThe physician ordered MTX (Methotrexate) 2.5 mg six per day.”

8. When there is an extensive amount of abbreviations used in a chronology or medical summary, is there an appendix of all of the abbreviations in alphabetical order for use by the reader?

9. If a word can not be deciphered, does the chronology indicate this by using ___ or ??? (can not decipher)?

10. Has the document been thoroughly proofread? Look for errors in dates, in referring to the sex of the patient, and for words that the spell checker will gloss over because they are correctly spelled but wrong within the context of the sentence.

The article is excerpted from our Medication Errors Toolkit.

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