Background According to the Institute of Medicine, inadequate medication labelling accounts for 33% of medication errors. As part of the institutional risk management strategy, in 2015 a multidisciplinary team redesigned the labels for hospital compounded preparations in order to comply with the recommendations issued by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and to include route of administration colour coding.
Purpose To develop a computer test for label design testing. To compare the previous and new labels by assessing probability of data misinterpretation and satisfaction of pharmacy personnel.
Material and methods An interactive test was developed using Adobe Captivate 8. Real pictures of pharmacy compounded parenteral bags and oral syringes labelled with the old and new designs were shown for 6 s each. Then, participants anonymously and voluntarily answered questions about the composition and route of administration of the preparations. Participants were also asked about the readability of each label design. Answers were analysed using STATA-13. Differences between the two labelling systems were assessed with the χ2 test (a p value ≤0.05 was considered statistically significant).
Results 48 (71.6%) members of the pharmacy department (21 pharmacists (43.75%), 9 nurses (18.75%) and 18 technicians (37.5%)) took the test. On an overall basis, route of administration was correctly chosen in a higher proportion for the redesigned labels (97.9%) compared with the old labels (88.75%). When subgroup analysis was performed by professional category, statistically significant differences between the two labelling designs were found for technicians (86.7% vs 97.8%, p < 0.05). The percentage of right answers about the preparation’s composition was higher in the new label group (86.7%) compared with the old label group (72.1%, p = 0.00). 97.9% of participants agreed or fully agreed that the route of administration was more easily identified in the new labels. Also, 91% of participants agreed or entirely agreed that composition was easier to understand with the new labelling system.
Conclusion The computerised tool was considered useful to assess label readability and enhance medication safety. The implemented changes in label design proved able to facilitate identification of both the administration route and composition of the preparations. In addition, the survey showed an improvement in satisfaction with the labelling system.
No conflict of interest.
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