Doctors are notorious for their sloppy handwriting. In fact, it’s often a go-to joke for sitcoms and movies that feature a doctor in their cast. However, in real life, sloppy handwriting can result in a scenario that is far from funny.
When your doctor writes you a prescription, be sure to ask him questions: What is the medication for? What is the name of the medication? What is the dosage of the medicine? How much should I take, and how often?
Though this is all information they’ll include in the prescription, it’s information that could easily be read incorrectly. For instance, the doctor, in his haste, could have accidentally put the period in the wrong place. His “1” could be misread as a “7,” his “0” as a “9.” The pharmacist, who will ultimately fill your prescription, can misinterpret a lot from illegible handwriting and the mistakes could be costly.
This is your health and your life at stake; no question or concern is too trivial to ask your health care provider. Be communicative and open with your doctor—it could save your life. For more tips on how to avoid medication errors, visit: http://www.pfizer.com/files/health/medicine_safety/4-3_Avoiding_Medication_Errors.pdf
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.