Infographics to Help Reduce Medication Errors

Two point-of-care workers checking a medication list

Award Date: 2017

Project Lead(s): Joanne Ho, Schlegel Clinical Research Scientist

Project Title: Geriatric Pharmacology Infographics: Efficient Knowledge Translation of Medication Optimization for Clinicians Caring for Seniors

What is the issue?

Medications are helpful for treating conditions but they can also cause side effects. A majority of side effects from medications are due to errors in prescribing or monitoring. Medication side effects are one of the leading causes of death and disability in North America.

What did we do?

We created infographics — posters that use pictures and minimal text to communicate information quickly. We included the most important information for five medications with significant potential to cause harm: why the medication is used, how it works, the usual doses for older adults, and interactions. They also communicated the potential side effects, especially those affecting memory and the risk of falls. We made infographics for three prescription medications (risperidone, digoxin, and warfarin), one over-the-counter medication (dimenhydrinate), and cannabis.

What did we find?

We incorporated multiple rounds of feedback from 17 doctors and pharmacists to develop and refine the designs. We are conducting a study to see if the infographics help doctors, pharmacists, and nurse practitioners consider critical safety information when they prescribe medications.