Better Drug Labeling for Pharmacists

Ergonomics in Design, Vol. 14, No. 1
November 1, 2006

Amy Quinn, User Centric Specialist
Aga Bojko, Associate Director
Catherine Gaddy, Director
Ed Israelski

Abstract

This study focused on one important consideration for potentially reducing error in filling prescriptions for drugs – the design of manufacturers' labels.  Based on review of the human factors and pharmacy literature, we found that important design factors for labels included information density and consistency, text size and color contrast against background, and use of size and color coding. In testing, we found that the redesigned labels made important tasks easier for the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.  Making the drug identification and discrimination task easier would likely lead to fewer errors and reduce the workload of pharmacy staff.

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