Combination of tall-man lettering and symbol prefixing to improve drug identification by pharmacists

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Sheau Farn Max LiangKai Xuan LuoRen Ming ZhangTu Sheng Lee

Abstract: Similar drug names can confuse pharmacists and lead to dispensing errors. A well-accepted solution to the problem is tall-man lettering, a typographic alteration to drug names. However, studies of its effectiveness have yielded mixed results. Furthermore, the potential of orthographic alterations to drug names has not been explored. Therefore, this study aims to examine the usefulness of the combination of tall-man lettering and a simple but new orthographic alteration, symbol prefixing. Twenty-six outpatient pharmacists were recruited to participate in an experiment on drug identification. The results showed that first, the accuracy of drug identification increased with tall-man lettering. Next, the response time and the number of eye fixations for the identification decreased with tall-man lettering and symbol prefixing. Finally, the number of eye fixations decreased with symbol prefixing when there was no tall-man lettering. The findings support that tall-man lettering and symbol prefixing are effective techniques for helping pharmacists identify drugs. Further research could assess the impacts of different types of typographic and orthographic alterations for alleviating the problem of drug name confusion and ultimately minimizing medication errors and ensuring patient safety.

Keywords: Confusing drug names, Typography, Orthographic similarity

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003450

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