Thursday, 3 December 2009

Doctor's Handwriting

Today's Radio 4 Today programme has a story where "Nearly one in 10 hospital prescriptions contain a mistake, ranging from the minor to the potentially lethal." (

Reasons given include the inevitable issues of handwriting, but also prescribing drugs without regard to the patient's allergies, and getting the dosage wrong.

Why, I have to ask, are prescriptions being hand-written at all? Why not crossed referenced with a list of allergies to at least alert the doctor to possible conflicts? Checked to ensure no obvious mistakes in dosage?

Why not generated from a computer system to do all the above, and more?

Is there an opportunity for Ffenics here, for a PrescriptionEase, for a simple-to-generate and low-cost app?


  1. Adrian,

    Bill King's DE app has been doing this for years in hospitals. There are many others that do it, too. The Veteran's Administration here has one as do several other hospital chains. Why the NHS doesn't I have no idea.

  2. Adrian:

    Interestingly, that job of cross-checking drug reactions (etc) seems to be done in Ontario by the pharmacist filling the scrip, and if there's a major problem, they'll go directly to the doctor and work something out. Now, whether it's computerized or because of the general knowledge of the pharmacist, I don't know.

    For example, over the Christmas break I came down with a nasty cold and nasal infection. When went to fill the prescription, the pharmacist told me to go off my Lipitor while taking the anti-biotic...