Life as an Extreme Sport

Handwriting Banned for WA Docs

When I was younger, schools used to have contests about what you were most likely to be as an adult. And, if you were like me, based on your handwriting you were voted most likely to become a doctor or a teacher. that’s no longer going to fly in Washington – at least not for doctors. Docs have to either very clearly blockprint (write) their prescriptions, or print them out.

As the article notes, this puts pharmacists in an uncomfortable position of having to decide what’s legal and what isn’t. What if the doctor happened to have a nice, strict Catholic school education like my mother, and has the world’s most perfect cursive? What if, god help them, they blockprint like I do? Or they have some smudgy in between?

Of course, the easiest thing is to simply print the prescriptions out, which is precisely what my doctor has done for a few years now; they recently even switched to printing schedule 2 drugs on a specific type of paper. All my doc has to do is print, sign, and hand over. Granted, this probably does make it slightly easier to copy, but I suspect that pharmacists would notice if you suddenly needed an awful lot of a prescription painkiller you’d never taken before. (I know that whenever I get a new pharmacist at Hall Health, I have to go through the whole explaining my medical issues, just because of the medications I receive.)

Overall, I think it’s a great move that should reduce patient death due to misfilled prescriptions. I just think it’d be best if they mandated a target date for all doc offices in the state to move to printed prescriptions – remove the ambiguity and necessity of the pharmacist playing cop. Because that’s not their job, either.