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Reasons And Solutions For Bad Handwriting Of Doctors

Discussion in 'Doctors Cafe' started by Jermeen Wadie, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. Jermeen Wadie

    Jermeen Wadie Young Member

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    Bad handwriting is something famous between doctors all over the world, and it is not something to be proud of as lots of wrong mediations have been given to patients. On the other hand, there are some doctors whom their handwriting is easy to be read.

    Studies showed that in Britain, medical errors were estimated to cause deaths of up to 30,000 people per year and in the USA up to 100,000 per year. Other authors have cautioned that unreadable handwriting in prescriptions may lead to fatal consequences and is a leading cause of medication error.

    An opinion from one of the doctors mentioned that who works in this field have to be extra careful when it comes to prescriptions, when a tiny misread could have major consequences. For instance, instead of writing 'mg' or 'mcg,' doctors were encouraged to write out 'milligram' or 'microgram.' 'If a dosage is 100 times what you’re writing, you have to be super careful about that.

    Here are some reasons for the bad handwriting of doctors

    1- During college:
    Medical students during college used to take notes quickly and by the time they used to do so in everything in their daily life.

    2- Quantity:
    The amount of job to be handled is too much load for one person to afford between X-rays, emergency, surgeries, consultation; so the doctor has to do everything as soon as possible.

    3- Using short terms:
    Several patients have to be rescued in no time in the Emergency Department, so when he writes the history of each he has to use short terms and sentences.
    For example, Mr. Adam is 60 years old admitted to the ED suffering from chest pain and can't breathe; in the ED he has to write that he has type 2 diabetes or any other chronic disease suffering from and finally, he has to write the conclusion of the ECG results and what has to be done with the patient.

    How to solve the problem of doctors' bad handwriting?

    The problem of bad handwriting needs a solution. If we can’t read it, then something needs to be done about it. For example, some prescriptions are written using capital letters to make their writing more clear.

    There are other studies with interesting results on the handwriting of doctors. Many of these have been done in the intensive care unit (ICU) settings. Regarding prescription writing, lack of mention of drug dosage was noted more in larger areas, and illegible order and mistaken dosage were observed more in smaller areas.

    The rate of prescription errors in ICUs was high and it was higher in crowded wards. Illegible orders were the most common errors in prescriptions. The authors recommended that a computerized physician order should be used to decrease prescription errors.

    Of course, typing everything isn’t perfect either. There’s still the possibility of entering, say, 30 instead of 300, and the process is slower than just scrawling out a prescription. While we’re all for electronic medical records, we’ll write by hand whenever we can.

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