It’s been a long-running joke that doctors have terrible handwriting. However, when it comes to accurate prescriptions, a doctor’s scrawl is no laughing matter. The health of thousands of patients each year, including residence of Providence, is threatened when a pharmacist is unable to decipher the hurried scribbles of a customer’s physician. A pharmacist’s failure to read a doctor’s handwriting properly can result in numerous medication error types, from a dosage mistake to the wrong drug entirely.
Just how serious is this problem? HealthDay reports that adverse drug reactions are one of the six top causes of death in the country. In part, drug errors fall into this category. An analysis of more than 9,000 prescriptions at the pharmacy of a large hospital revealed mistakes in one out of every eight prescriptions. The inability to read sloppy doctor handwriting accounted for some of these mistakes.