"I used Photoshop to make the text with my laser printer on the form - I then took the form, attached a photo I printed out on photo paper to it, and then ran the whole shebang through an inkjet printer to get the 'stamp' effect. I was going for a really textural feel with the medical file - I tried as much as I could to work through the 'process' of how a file would be treated and the physical feel of it different papers used for different documents - a lot of times I see pictures or stamps and the like that are all printed in one layer...there's no sensation there."
I prefer to reproduce handwriting by hand, but I think his approach of using computer generated text has some huge advantages. The sad truth is that I have terrible handwriting and normally have to coerce my significant other into doing any prop writing I need. Based on my conversations with some other prop creators this isn't an unusual situation. Not to launch a huge debate on learning and manual dexterity development, much less my potential sexism, but I think the methods used to teach cursive writing, and the age at which it's taught, aren't as effective with boys as girls.*
One of the advantage of forms like these is that a handwriting font isn't as jarring as it would be in something like a letter. The clearly marked lines and regularity of the entries make the inhuman precision of a digital font far less noticeable. A handwritten note requires some subtle misalignments and jitter to look natural.
Mr. Able also brings up a good point about layering and it's impact on sense impression. Traditional theatrical and film props are primarily concerned with looking good, but well done live action props are so effective because they embrace all the senses. One of the reasons I produced so many different documents for the Arkham Sanitarium project is to make it easier to produce a visually and tactiley interesting final product.
* Harriet Hanlon, Robert Thatcher, and Marvin Cline. Gender differences in the development of EEG coherence in normal children. Developmental Neuropsychology, 16(3):479-506, 1999**
** Sweet fancy Moses, I'm footnoting a throwaway comment in a discussion of fake patient files. I need help.