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For years there have been jokes about doctors and their handwriting. Anyone going to medical school was told that they would need to learn how to sign their name like chicken scratch, yet the cost of that poor handwriting is shockingly serious. There are numerous people in Toledo and across the country who are given the wrong medication because a pharmacist can’t read the prescription. In fact, there are approximately 7,000 people who die each year because of some kind of medication error.

That figure doesn’t even take into account the number of people who are adversely affected but who do not die from medication errors.

There is an easy fix: electronic prescriptions. The technology is there; it is not even that doctors and hospitals are waiting anxiously for someone to develop it. Yet, only a small proportion of doctors will actually switch to electronic prescriptions. Why are they so reluctant to switch? Because electronic prescriptions have a higher cost than paper pads.

Of course, no one can force doctors or hospitals to shell out more to keep their patients safe, but it is unfathomable that medical professionals are willing to put their patients’ lives at risk to save a few dollars. What is worse, is that even if they didn’t want to switch to electronic prescriptions, it is largely in their hands to reduce medication errors, at least if they were to write more clearly.

Unfortunately, too many doctors in Ohio and throughout the United States are willing to compromise their patients’ safety if it will save them some money.