Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

"Handwriting Challenged" Doctors To Take Penmanship Class At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Date:
April 27, 2000
Source:
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Summary:
Reading some doctors’ prescription orders has been likened to deciphering hieroglyphics or interpreting the Rosetta Stone, but according to Paul B. Hackmeyer, M.D., Chief of the Medical Staff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, poor handwriting is no laughing matter. In fact, he says, it can be dangerous – if not deadly. On Tuesday, May 9, Cedars-Sinai is proactively addressing this concern by offering a special class in handwriting for members of the medical staff.

LOS ANGELES, CA (April 26, 2000) – Physicians are notorious for bad handwriting. Reading some doctors’ prescription orders has been likened to deciphering hieroglyphics or interpreting the Rosetta Stone. But though society once made light of their indiscernible scratches and scrawls, doctors’ bad handwriting is no longer a laughing matter. According to Paul B. Hackmeyer, MD, Chief of the Medical Staff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, poor handwriting can be dangerous -- if not deadly.

Related Articles


“Bad handwriting can lead to dramatic medication errors,” explained Dr. Hackmeyer, “while clear, easy-to-read handwriting can help protect patients from the consequences of taking the wrong medicine. On Tuesday, May 9, we are offering a special class in handwriting for members of our medical staff. Though Cedars-Sinai medical staff consistently rates high in customer satisfaction, we realize that many of our physicians don’t write legibly and we wanted to take the initiative and address this concern.”

Dr. Hackmeyer said that the medical staff decided to offer this class in response to recent national studies, like that of the Institute of Medicine, which highlight the need to reduce medical errors. He cited a widely publicized 1999 case in Texas where a jury awarded a woman $450,000 because her husband died from taking the wrong medication. “Because of the doctor’s poor penmanship, the pharmacist mistakenly gave him a different medication,” said Hackmeyer. “This tragic situation is certainly a cautionary tale for everyone in the medical profession.”

In order to create interest in the handwriting class, Dr. Hackmeyer borrowed basic techniques from Madison Avenue. He had the Medical Center create posters and flyers featuring a photo likeness – and cryptic penmanship – of Marshal Fichman, MD, a longtime kidney specialist at Cedars-Sinai. “Dr. Fichman is our ‘poster child’ for the ‘handwriting challenged,’” said Dr. Hackmeyer. “He’s been such a good sport about this. In addition, we’re currently featuring a contest where our doctors have to decipher the handwriting of two anonymous colleagues. The grand prize is Sunday Brunch for two at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.”

The strategy worked. Dr. Hackmeyer says that Cedars-Sinai physicians have responded enthusiastically to the class and contest and already, more than 50 have signed up. “We contacted a firm that specializes in teaching people good penmanship,” he said. “Then, we asked nurses and administrative staff to help us target those physicians who would most benefit from this class. The three-hour course will be a self-instructional one that emphasizes a cursive italic handwriting style, with tips on the correct position of the paper, the size of letters, the length of strokes, and how one should hold the writing instrument.”

Though he’s had fun promoting the class, Dr. Hackmeyer takes the project very seriously. “By offering this innovative handwriting course for our physicians and making the reduction of medical errors one of the medical staff’s top strategic goals, we believe that Cedars-Sinai is raising the bar for other medical institutions,” he said. “So that we can measure the effectiveness of our efforts, we are currently conducting a survey to determine how many calls our doctors’ offices receive from pharmacists who cannot read their prescriptions. After the class, we will do follow up to see if the numbers have decreased. At Cedars-Sinai, we have a whole network of interdisciplinary committees that work to improve, not just maintain, our already high levels of excellence.”

# # #

For media information and interviews, please call 310-423-4039 or 4767.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. ""Handwriting Challenged" Doctors To Take Penmanship Class At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000426155803.htm>.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. (2000, April 27). "Handwriting Challenged" Doctors To Take Penmanship Class At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000426155803.htm
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. ""Handwriting Challenged" Doctors To Take Penmanship Class At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/04/000426155803.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins