Comparison of Two Instruments for the Assessment of
Legibility of Prescriptions in a Developing Country
Obehi A Akoria* and Ambrose O Isah
Unit of Clinical
Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Department of Medicine,
University of Benin/University of Benin Teaching
Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria.
Received: 15 July 2009
Revised accepted: 23 September 2009
Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, December 2009;
the utility of a rating and visual analogue scale for
the assessment of legibility in prescriptions
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.
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
= 0.900; 2-tailed p = 0.05); one doctor’s scores were
negatively correlated (rs
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.
Handwriting; Prescriptions; Legibility; Rating Scale;
Visual Analogue Scale; Nigeria.