A National Academies of Science's Institute of Medicine report has revealed that in excess of 7,000 people are killed each year as a result of poor handwriting by doctors. A further 1.5 million are injured.

The main areas of risk are illegible writing, unclear abbreviations, and vague dosage directions. In response a free, web-based program will be launched to allow doctors to write electronic prescriptions and check for harmful drug interactions.

Less than 10% of American doctors do not have access to the internet in their surgery. The e-prescription program is likely to increase efficiency and reduce casualties. It may be a stepping stone to a completely electronic medical records system.

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