Whether someone's penmanship is good or bad, it can lead to serious Medical Office mistakes. For years, mistakes in the Medical Office were blamed on poor physician penmanship.
- Pharmacies were giving patients the wrong medication because they couldn't read the physician's handwriting on the prescription.
- Referring physician's signatures were so illegible that other health care professionals had no way of knowing whom to contact about patient concerns.
- Medical coders could not accurately add HCPCS codes or ICD-9 codes to medical claims if they can't read the patient's chart.
However, these same mistakes can be made even with good penmanship. The slightest mistake can lead to major misinterpretation.
One letter missing from a word can change the entire meaning of it.
One missed decimal point can take what should be a small dose to a very large dose.
An incorrect abbreviation can lead to treatment delays that risk patient welfare.
The solution to handwritten-related mistakes can be solved in two ways:
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- E-prescribing: CMS defines e-prescribing as an accurate and error-free electronic method of sending prescriptions to pharmacies.
- Electronic Health Record: Improved accuracy is just one benefit of integrating to an electronic medical record system. There are five major benefits of switching from a paper medical record to an electronic health record (EHR).