2017 UPDATE: Improving Prescription Medication Labels

Label Design: Take a Closer Look
NASEM Roundtable on Pharmacy Practice
Pharmacy Spotlight: Hometown Pharmacy
April 3-5, 2017: Health Literacy Summit features a day on Medication Labels
Coming Soon by Internet: Vote for your Favorite Label!
In Case You Missed It: Labeling Project Summary
Send Us Your Comments
Label Design: Take a Closer Look

What does a more patient-friendly medication label look like?

At Hometown Pharmacy - Cottage Grove, new easier-to-read labels will start later this month. Hometown is one of three participating pilot pharmacies in WIsconsin. Owner Matt Mabie was eager to participate in the medication labeling project to help his patients better understand their medications.

Matt and Wisconsin Health Literacy Project Coordinator Lauren Werner worked together to identify how the current Hometown Pharmacy label could be  improved in order to adhere to the US Pharmacopeia's standards for medication labels. 

As shown in the "before" and "after" labels at left, in the new label the c ritical patient information is at the top, and the less critical information is at the bottom.
Reader-friendly Arial font, and plenty of open space make this  new label much cleaner and easier to understand.  

The Medication Label Project Patient Advisory Group overwhelmingly praised the new design.

Redesigned labels already are being used at Hayat Pharmacies in Milwaukee and soon to be implemented at UW Health Pharmacy Services.

NASEM  Roundtable on Pharmacy Practice
nullThe Easy-to-Read Medication Labeling Project has gained national attention!  In November, Steve Sparks, Wisconsin Health Literacy Director, was invited to share information on the project at a national forum in Washington, DC.

This presentation was part of a day-long workshop by the Health Literacy Roundtable, affiliated with the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.   The workshop focused on  Communicating Clearly About Medicine. The project was praised by attendees as an innovative way to improve labels on a voluntary basis across Wisconsin.

"By getting the word out through events like this, we hope the Medication Labeling Project will inspire similar patient-centered labeling practices across the country in the future," Steve said.

Pharmacy Spotlight: Hometown Pharmacy
Hometown Pharmacy's adage is "Our Family Caring for Your Family".  Each retail location feels like home and treats each and every patient like family.  Pharmacy staff know customers by name, and are willing to keep the store open a few extra minutes if a patient is running late.
Hometown Pharmacy-Cottage Grove partner and pharmacist Matt Mabie works in the community where he lives.  He is sensitive to patient concerns and uses customer feedback to improve the care people receive in the pharmacy.  Having been frustrated with the cluttered landscape of the company's medicine labels, he was excited to participate in Wisconsin Health Literacy's label redesign project.  The new labels are in place at Hometown Pharmacy in Cottage Grove since January 14, 2017.
Hometown Pharmacy is a group of 42 pharmacies throughout Wisconsin.  Most locations are in smaller communities, and they serve a group of patients where Hometown may be the only pharmacy in the community.
Matt Mabie says, when asked about his favorite part of working with patients in smaller communities, "Getting to know patients and their children over the years and seeing them grow up and give back to our wonderful community that I have called home for over 40 years."
Hometown Pharmacy is one of three pharmacy systems implementing new labels.

April 3-5, 2017: Health Literacy Summit features a day on Medication Labels
Mark your calendars April 3-5, 2017!

Wisconsin Health Literacy is holding its biennial  Health Literacy Summit. New this year is the Medication Label Summit on April 3rd, which precedes the Health Literacy Summit on April 4th and 5th.  The event will take place at the beautiful Monona Terrace, in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.  Come and join us for just the Medication Label Summit, or attend the Health Literacy Summit as well. 

At the Medication Label Summit, attendees will have the chance to hear from health literacy colleagues in the fields of pharmacy, health policy, scholarly research, and patients from the community. Confirmed presenters include Michael Wolf, Northwestern University, Dr. Ruth Parker, Emory University, and Dr. Joanne Schwartzberg, United States Pharmacopeia.  A special session is dedicated to discussion of the Prescription Labeling Project. Click here for more details on the Summit.  

Coming Soon by Internet: Vote for your Favorite Label!

Soon, the public (including YOU!) will be able to give us feedback about medication labels.  Through a specially designed website, you will be asked to compare two labels and asked about which they like best and why.

You will also be asked for other opinions on medication labels, as well as to share stories you may have about medication use. 

Look for a link to the website coming soon to your inbox!

In Case You Missed It: Project Summary
Project Summary  
Prescription medication labels can be confusing to patients and caregivers.  This can lead to medication errors and non-adherence, particularly for people with limited literacy.  Effective medication use is essential to disease control, population health management, and health care cost reduction.  Wisconsin Health Literacy has partnered with the Medical College of Wisconsin through the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment to redesign and implement the United States Pharmacopeia's labeling guidelines in over 50 community pharmacy locations across the state.  Patients, health care providers, pharmacists and other stakeholders will benefit from the new labels, which will hopefully improve understanding, adherence, and overall health.

You can read about the first phase of this project  here.

Comments and Suggestions?  Contact Us.
We want to hear what you think about the Prescription Labeling Project. 

Your feedback and suggestions will help us make the project better and easier to implement in additional pharmacies in Wisconsin or other states. 


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