MEDICAL ERRORS: Penmanship Key to Reducing Mistakes
Doctors at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center recently took a course on penmanship to make their handwriting more legible and to reduce prescription-related medical errors, the Washington Post reports. "How we write something down for a patient can sometimes be a matter of life and death. And we're realizing we could really use this kind of help," cardiologist William Mandel said. Hospital administrators instituted the one-time class in response to a "growing concern that serious errors in both patient prescriptions and treatment are often rooted in the age-old habit of harried physicians scribbling off requests that pharmacists and nurses later have a difficult, if not impossible, time understanding." Course instructors steered the doctors away from traditional script, with its "elaborate loops and curls," and re-introduced them to a more basic "box-and-stick" handwriting style. Paul Hackmeyer, Cedars-Sinai chief of staff, plans to monitor participants' progress to determine its success in improving their handwriting and reducing pharmacists' requests for clarification (Sanchez, 5/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.