Background We developed a drug information (DI) sheet for patients to promote appropriate use and self-medication, but the level of understanding was not satisfactory. One reason for the poor comprehension was that important information was buried in the detail.
Purpose To improve the visual appeal and patient comprehension of DI sheets by inserting pictograms.
Material and methods We conducted the user testing method to evaluate DI sheets. Three different DI sheets on NSAIDs, sheet A provided by the industry, sheet B originally developed and sheet C with pictograms inserted in sheet B, were studied. The sentences of each sheet were laid out in two columns side by side. Originally designed pictograms for contraindications with underlying diseases, allergy history, inappropriate indication and concomitant use, and caution for the elderly and pregnant/breastfeeding females were used. Comprehension of the DI sheets was assessed in interviews with 12 questions. The time spent searching for answers and eye movements were recorded with an eye tracker. This study was approved by the Ethics Committee.
Results Thirty-nine healthy adults stratified by age and sex were randomly assigned to group A (11), B (14), or C (14). The percentage of correct answers did not differ among groups (A, 79.5%; B, 82.1%; C, 79.8%). Pictograms of contraindications with concomitant use and inappropriate indication increased the correct answer rate (by 10%–20%) and visual appeal, but improvements by other pictograms were small. Ten of 12 questions had decreased search times in group C compared with group B. The average total search time in groups B and C was 273.6 and 244.6 s, respectively. The upper left of the DI sheets received the most visual attention, while text in the lower right tended to be overlooked.
Conclusion Pictograms shorten the time required to search for answers and make it easier to locate necessary information on DI sheets. Placing critical information in the upper left part of the page must be useful in increasing patient comprehension.
References and/or Acknowledgements This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research <KAKENHI&
Conflict of interest Corporate-sponsored research or other substantive relationships:
This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, Japan Society For The Promotion of Science.
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