Do drug names endanger patients?

$175
Raised of $1,000 Goal
18%
Ended on 11/20/13
Campaign Ended
  • $175
    pledged
  • 18%
    funded
  • Finished
    on 11/20/13

About This Project

Research questions

1. How can drug names and their translations be described linguistically?

2. Can drug names endanger the lives of patients?

3. Can the drug naming process be improved to protect against medication error?

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What is the context of this research?

This project is a vital component of a much larger PhD on the linguistic aspects of generic drug names used internationally. You can also download a summary of the overall study and my academic CV (trusted links). Overall, this study seeks to identify areas for improvement to the international drug naming process to protect against drug confusion errors, and thus increase patient safety. An example of a drug confusion error - between mercaptamine and mercaptopurine - can be read about here.

I am analysing and comparing the entire body of drug names used internationally (in English, Italian and Russian - my working languages) to ascertain the extent to which their construction reflects their conceptual properties and interrelationships. Findings will then be correlated with drug confusion error statistics to highlight links between names and likelihood of error, and thus risks to patient safety.

The overall project is hugely important and is relevant to almost every person on Earth, since at some point in our lives we are all patients and we take some form of medication. International drug names are currently chosen through an archaic procedure, and there is widespread inconsistency in both the construction of the names and how it portrays the pharmacological relationships between drugs.

What is the significance of this project?

Drug confusion errors continue to occur and thus patients continue to be put at risk. As a human being, I am frustrated that the safety of patients is being put at risk. As a linguist, I am astounded that no attention has been paid to terminology in seeking solutions to the problem. So I have decided to do it myself!

The current component - conducting interviews with medical professionals - is vital to the study since it will provide an on-the-ground perspective of drug names in use, and will elucidate so-called 'latent factors' that increase the risk of drug names being confused, such as fatigue and long working hours.

These interviews will also direct any possible deliverables of the project, such as changes to the way in which medical students learn about pharmacology. From some informal interviews with pharmacists and general practitioners it has emerged that despite there being in place an extensive stem (word parts signifying pharmacological relationships) system, most medical professionals (including a Professor of Pharmacology) are not aware of it and learnt pharmaceutical names by rote, inferring relationships ad hoc.

What are the goals of the project?

It's a huge project involving over 40,000 names in 3 languages, and due to its interdisciplinarity with Linguistics and Medicine, it has been extremely difficult to find funding for the project (Medicine funding bodies think it belongs to Linguistics, and vice versa!). Almost all of my tuition fees have now been covered by my Faculty/University but I am seeking alternative funding for some key components, including the current component - the collection of primary qualitative data through interviews with medical professionals.

During September and October, I will be organising, conducting and analysing the results of a series of interviews with medical professionals from various parts of the health care system (nurses, midwives, doctors, general practitioners, pharmacists, parents/carers and patients). This is the only qualitative component of my study, and also the only primary data to be collected.

I am seeking funds to cover the administration costs and expenses for interviews with medical professionals in England and Wales, including outsourcing the transcription of the interview recordings to undergraduates in my department (this is heavily discounted as it is assigned as part of a module in the Translation degree scheme).

Budget

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I am seeking funds to cover the administration costs and expenses for interviews with medical professionals in England and Wales. I am not asking for any living costs for the time I will spend on this component, since these are not covered by my Faculty.

I very much intend to pursue academia as a career and so I ask that you view any pledges made to this project as an investment in the overall study and also in myself. I see my study as the beginning of a new field of research, with an abundance of spin-off projects and applications. I am happy to discuss the study with you and also to provide progress reports. If you have any questions, please ask them!

Note: Since 2007, I have worked part-time as a freelance translator, copy-editor and proofreader, of mostly academic and medical texts. I regularly work with prominent publishers, such as Oxford University Press and Taylor&Francis. Any generous donors will receive a 10% discount on my services for the next 12 months. Just quote your microryza username and the amount pledged when you contact me.

Meet the Team

Rachel Bryan
Rachel Bryan
PhD researcher

Affiliates

Swansea University, Wales, United Kingdom
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Team Bio

Go to my: Academic profile | LinkedIn profile | Freelance website
Email me | Call me: + 44 758 449 3288 | Download my CV
  • BA (1st Hons) and MA (Dist.) in Translation/Linguistics
  • Co-Founder and Director of Communications of major translation
    services company between 2009 and 2012
  • Currently writing my PhD in Linguistics/Medicine

Rachel Bryan

Go to my: Academic profile | LinkedIn profile | Freelance website
Email me | Call me: + 44 758 449 3288 | Download my CV

  • BA (1st Hons) and MA (Dist.) in Translation/Linguistics
  • Co-Founder and Director of Communications of major translation
    services company between 2009 and 2012
  • Currently writing my PhD in Linguistics/Medicine

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Additional Information

The focus of my overall PhD study is international pharmaceutical nomenclature, viz., the drug names that are used internationally. It encompasses four primary research questions:
  1. How are pharmaceutical names chosen and how can they be described linguistically?
  2. To what extent does form portray conceptual relationships between terms?�many ways to categorise conceptual relationship (chemical make up, the area of the body, or the action)
  3. What formal or semantic conditions give rise to confusion between names, and thus medication errors?
  4. Given the findings from research into the first 3 areas, can the term formation process be improved to reduce the risk of confusion errors? and thus increase patient safety?

Project Backers

  • 4Backers
  • 18%Funded
  • $175Total Donations
  • $43.75Average Donation
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