While many healthcare professionals have moved to digital recordkeeping and prescription writing, there remain some who still handwrite things. In the past, bad handwriting was so prevalent in the medical field that it became a running joke that all doctors write poorly.
However, bad handwriting is no joke when it leads to errors. If other professionals cannot read what a doctor writes, it can easily cause issues.
Messy records become unreadable
Doctors have to keep good records of patients. These records help inform and they include essential information that will help to best treat the person and keep them in good health. The notes jotted down by doctors require exactness to avoid confusion. Even one small error could alter the whole outcome. For example, if a nurse cannot read that a patient is not to eat anything, it could severely impact the overall care and potentially cause delays in treatments.
Prescription mistakes due to sloppy writing
Bad handwriting is especially a problem when it comes to prescriptions. Medications often have very similar names. If it is not clear what the doctor is prescribing, someone could make a mistake and give a patient the wrong medication. Prescriptions also require exact dosages and usage information.
A potential solution
The medical field has shifted toward using digital notes and prescriptions to help combat this problem. However, handwritten notes and orders are still common. Checks and balances within the medical field are the only way to prevent bad handwriting from leading to costly mistakes.