Does an education intervention improve physician signature legibility? Pilot study of a prospective chart review.

James K. Glisson, Mary E. Morton, Allyn H. Bond, Michael Griswold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Illegible physician signatures in patient records can lead to inaccurate documentation, improper billing, and potential legal issues. Many studies in the current literature address legibility of prescriptions and medication orders; however, few focus on legibility of physicians' signatures. The purpose of the present quality improvement survey was to evaluate physician signature legibility on patient charts at the University of Mississippi Medical Center's Adult Internal Medicine Clinic. At the time of the study, the clinic was known as the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) Adult Internal Medicine Clinic. Effective July 1, 2009, UMMC entered into a collaboration with Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center (JHCHC), a federally qualified health center. The clinic is now known as the Federally Qualified Health Center at the Jackson Medical Mall. In this pilot study, we examined clinic notes and billing sheets for legible physician signatures over a three-month period. Midway through the study, an intervention group was given name stamps and a standardized discussion on the importance of signature legibility and proper name stamp usage. Legibility of resident signatures in the intervention group increased from 26 percent to 60 percent. Legibility of attending signatures in the intervention group increased from 1.4 percent to 86 percent. Results suggest the significant impact of resident education on changing practice behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPerspectives in health information management / AHIMA, American Health Information Management Association
Volume8
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Mississippi
Physicians
Education
Internal Medicine
Names
Health
Time and Motion Studies
Quality Improvement
Documentation
Prescriptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Illegible physician signatures in patient records can lead to inaccurate documentation, improper billing, and potential legal issues. Many studies in the current literature address legibility of prescriptions and medication orders; however, few focus on legibility of physicians' signatures. The purpose of the present quality improvement survey was to evaluate physician signature legibility on patient charts at the University of Mississippi Medical Center's Adult Internal Medicine Clinic. At the time of the study, the clinic was known as the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) Adult Internal Medicine Clinic. Effective July 1, 2009, UMMC entered into a collaboration with Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center (JHCHC), a federally qualified health center. The clinic is now known as the Federally Qualified Health Center at the Jackson Medical Mall. In this pilot study, we examined clinic notes and billing sheets for legible physician signatures over a three-month period. Midway through the study, an intervention group was given name stamps and a standardized discussion on the importance of signature legibility and proper name stamp usage. Legibility of resident signatures in the intervention group increased from 26 percent to 60 percent. Legibility of attending signatures in the intervention group increased from 1.4 percent to 86 percent. Results suggest the significant impact of resident education on changing practice behavior.",
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