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There are several theories about origins of doctors writing in a hard to read way. Some sources say doctors need to write too much during training and at work, leading to bad handwriting. Some other sources say that doctors do away with such handwriting because medical documents are readable by medical professionals, and are not intended to be read by patients.
Standard medical notation
Historically, physicians raised in Europe-influenced schools used Latin words and abbreviations to convey the entire prescription to the pharmacist. Today, many of the abbreviations are still widely used and must be understood to interpret prescriptions. At other times, even though some of the individual letters are illegible, the position of the legible letters and length of the word is sufficient to distinguish the medication based on the knowledge of the pharmacist. When in doubt, pharmacists call the medical practitioner. Some jurisdictions have legislated legible[how?] prescriptions (e.g. Florida).
Computerised recognition of doctor handwriting
Electronic prescription alleviates the need of illegible prescription. Computerised health information systems eliminate the need of doctors writing out many reports by hand.
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