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“Talking” Medicine Bottle Labels Help Improve Health Literacy
by Pam Chwedyk Minority Nurse Writer
Persons who speak little or no English, have low literacy skills or are visually impaired can face formidable barriers to accessing important written health care information, such as the labels on prescription bottles. If patients are unable to read or remember the instructions for taking their medicine, it’s virtually impossible for them to comply with their treatment.
To provide a linguistically competent solution to this problem, SightConnection, the retail product operation of Seattle-based Community Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted (CSBPS), is offering the Aloud 200 Audio Labeling System, an innovative recording system that allows prescription labels to be heard instead of read.
When the patient is given a prescription to be filled, he or she simply brings the lightweight, portable, battery-operated recording device to a pharmacist or other caregiver, who reads the instructions into a recording chip that attaches to the base of the medicine bottle. The patient can then take the recorder back home, insert the bottle and play back the directions by pressing a button.
The audio labeling system, which accepts a wide range of prescription bottle sizes, allows about two minutes’ worth of speech to be recorded. This enables the pharmacist to include not only basic label information, such as how many pills to take and when to take them, but also any special instructions, like “do not operate heavy machinery while taking this medication.” Because the system is designed for ongoing use, new messages can be recorded over the old one to accommodate future prescriptions.
The Aloud 200 Talking Prescription Labeling System is available from SightConnection for $119.48. For more information, or to order, call (800) 458-4888 or visit www.sightconnection.com.