Physicians barred from using cursive to write prescriptions

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, via Symtym:

Physicians, heal thy handwriting.

On June 7, a new law went into effect that could paralyze the penmanship-impaired. It says that if a prescription isn’t hand-printed, typed or electronically generated, it can’t be filled, Jeff Smith of the state Health Department explained.

Cursive is illegal.

Dr. Richard Goss, medical director of quality improvement at Harborview Medical Center, said he is in favor of the bill because his own handwriting is hard to read.

“One of the comic strips on my office wall is a physician’s guide to the alphabet,” he said. “Each letter is illegible.”

Goss said his handwriting probably was readable when he was in junior high, but it went downhill from there. Years of fast handwriting and note-taking took their toll.

As a result, he’s been forced to slow down when he writes prescriptions, print carefully, read them over and make sure someone else can read them. He also double-checks figures.

If physicians, veterinarians and other prescription writers want to assign blame for this bill, Dr. William Robertson of the Washington Poison Center is willing to accept it.

Robertson said it’s taken him 27 years to make scrawled prescriptions illegal. Lots of doctors are opposed to this, but it will save drug errors, he said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: