WRITTEN communication is the legal basis for the hospital practice of medicine. Two major methods of communication are (1) telephone orders that require written confirmation and (2) written orders and progress notes. The legal requirements for written orders and progress notes are that they be legible and that there be a printed signature if the written signature is not legible. These are the documents of medical care.
In the present day 250- to 500-bed setting, there are many persons who may legally write on the patient's order sheet and also in the patient's record. Therefore, a complete study would include physicians, nurses, pharmacists, nurse specialists, interns, residents, and medical students.
What effect does the clarity of handwriting have on the effectiveness of communications within the hospital community? The purpose of this study is to indicate that physicians' handwriting causes a considerable waste of hospital employees' time.
Scope and Method of