DOCTOR'S VIEWS ARCHIVE
BOSTON-You can't read your doctor's writing on the
prescription! The notes on your instruction sheet are impossible
to decipher! "It must have been taught in medical school!"
The clarity of a doctor's handwriting would seemingly
be an important part of healthcare communication.
The question whether the legibility of doctors' handwriting
is more of a problem than that of other adults was recently studied
by Donald M. Berwick at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Dr. Berwick and associates compared the handwriting
of 82 doctors with 127 non-doctors. The study was published in
the British Medical Journal (1996;313:1657-8). The
study data showed that doctors, in fact, have handwriting no worse
than that of non-doctors!
Nevertheless, the authors emphasize that the potential
impact of poor handwriting on healthcare must not be ignored.
They point out that clarity of writing is a human problem rather
than being unique to doctors as a group.
Believe it or not!