Introducing a structured prescription form improves the quality of handwritten prescriptions in limited resource setting of developing countries

Usman Ahmad Raza, Sana Latif, Anum Naseer, Maryam Saad, Muhammad Fazal Zeeshan, Umair Qazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Incomplete or illegible prescriptions can lead to serious errors in administration of the prescribed medication, which can become hazardous. Objective: Our aim is to determine if a structured prescription form can improve the quality of handwritten prescription in terms of completeness and legibility. Methods: We conducted a prospective, non-randomized, time series study of quality of written prescriptions of general practitioners at a tertiary teaching hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan. The study involved an intervention, composed of the introduction of a pre-printed structured prescription form. The data were collected within 4 weeks including a 2-week pre-intervention phase and 2-week post-intervention phase. Completeness, quality of prescriptions and legibility were compared before and after the intervention of the pre-printed structured prescription form. Results: A total of 463 prescriptions were obtained (260 in the pre-intervention phase and 203 in the post-intervention phase). Between pre-intervention phase and post-intervention phase, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council registration number presence in prescriptions improved from 73.1% to 100% (P < 0.0005). The presence of prescriber's signature improved from 92.7% to 99% (P = 0.001). Drug duration was not missing in 99.5% in post-intervention phase as compared with 90.4% in pre-intervention phase (P < 0.0005). Prescriptions with no legibility problems improved from 76.2% to 94.1% (P < 0.0005). Although not statistically significant, prescriptions in which drug dosage was not missing improved from 85% to 90.6% (P = 0.07). Limitations: We have a limited single-center study. A larger study in multiple settings is needed to develop adequate evidence for such interventions. Subjective nature of prescription legibility can also be considered as a limitation. Conclusion: Structuring a prescription form alone may improve certain aspects of quality of written prescription in terms of completeness and legibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-720
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • clinical guidelines
  • clinical safety
  • patient-centred care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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