A Comparison of Two Instruments for the Assessment of Legibility of Prescriptions in a Developing Country

  • OA Akoria
  • AO Isah
Keywords: Handwriting, Prescriptions, Legibility, Rating Scale, Visual Analogue Scale, Nigeria


Purpose: To compare the utility of a rating and visual analogue scale for the assessment of legibility in prescriptions Methods: A sample of fifty randomly selected prescriptions from a tertiary hospital in Benin City, Nigeria was assessed by five independent assessors – three doctors and two pharmacists using a rating scale and a 100 mm visual analogue scale. Rating scores were allocated as: 0 - completely illegible; 1 - barely legible; 2 - moderately legible; 3 - clearly legible, and 4 - print. Visual analogue scores were measured in millimetres. Results: Rating and visual analogue scores were skewed. The median rating score by doctors and pharmacists were 2.0 and 3.0, respectively. Median visual analogue scores were 59.5, 67.0, 55.0, 51.5 and 46.0 mm, respectively. Inter-quartile ranges (rating scores) were 2.0 – 3.0 for both doctors and pharmacists except for one pharmacist whose inter-quartile range was 1.0 – 2.3; inter-quartile ranges (visual analogue scores) were 49.3 – 63.0, 59.8 – 71.0, 31.0 – 65.5, 40.8 – 62.0, 43.0 – 55.5 mm, for the five independent assessors. The  pharmacists’ scores using either scale were significantly positively correlated (rs = 0.900; 2-tailed p = 0.05); one doctor’s scores were negatively correlated (rs = -0.308). Conclusion: The findings support the utility of both instruments in the assessment of handwriting but suggest that there may be important differences between doctors and pharmacists using either method.

Keywords: Handwriting; Prescriptions; Legibility; Rating Scale; Visual Analogue Scale; Nigeria


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996