Harvey M. Rappaport, PhD
To the Editors: Despite repeated admonitions, patients continue to misread and misinterpret prescription label directions (1). Inability to read or to comprehend does not explain it (2).
The simplest way to promote effective communication is to be consistent. Research indicates that a consistent ordering of the elements of prescription label directions would be optimal for comprehension (2). Patients may already have a mental schema for taking medications, and thus "instructions should be better understood when organized to match this knowledge" (3).
A recent analysis of over 10 000 computerized signatures of three national chain pharmacies suggests that a simple schema
Rappaport HM. Consistency in Prescription Writing. Ann Intern Med. ;117:1059. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-117-12-1059_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1992;117(12):1059.
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