Thursday, May 8, 2008

Why do doctors still hand write prescriptions?

The answer, quite frankly, is "I have no idea."

With almost all practices being computerized to some degree, any software company worth its salt will offer some type of prescription printing ability. I personally have not hand written a prescription in so long that I cannot remember the last time I did.

The advantages to digital/printed prescriptions are many.

  1. Record keeping. Every prescription I create is digitally stored in the patient's chart. I never have to worry about remembering to enter the information. Of course all of my other patient notes are digital as well, but Eaglesoft creates an automatic chart note whenever a prescription is created.
  2. Efficiency. With all of my prescription templates already created, all I need to do is to select the correct medication and then print it. Today's laser printers are so fast that the prescription is usually printed before someone can even get to the printer. I sign and go.
  3. Patient safety. It's a fact that busy practitioners have terrible hand writing. The more times a pharmacist has to struggle to read a prescription, the more the chances for errors increase. Printing prescriptions is one of the best ways to make sure the patient receives the correct medication and the correct dosage.
Here is an article that illustrates the point. Although it is written about India, the same situations and problems exist in the US and lots of other areas around the globe.

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