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Photographs and medication imprint codes on medicine bags improve safety of medication use in a medical ambulatory clinic

Mei Chena, Yuh-Feng Wangb, c, Chin-Lon Linc, d, Mei-Hua Chuanga, e

a Department of Pharmacy, Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi General Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan
b Department of Nuclear Medicine, Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi General Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan
c College of Medicine, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan
d Department of Cardiology, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan
e Department of Nursing, Chung-Jen Junior College of Nursing, Health Sciences and Management, Chiayi, Taiwan

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This study evaluated the effectiveness of photographs of a medication and medication imprint codes printed on a medicine bag on safe drug use.

Materials and Methods

Surveys were developed for outpatients and pharmacists. The survey for outpatients was designed to investigate whether patients would use a picture and imprint code on the medication bag to verify their drug and whether they found the picture and imprint code helpful in improving the safety of drug use. The survey designed for pharmacists investigated the effects of a picture and imprint code on medication bags on the drug dispensing error rate of pharmacists and on their work satisfaction.


The use of a medication photograph by the public increased from 66.7% to 80% (p = 0.004), while that of the medication imprint code increased from 51.5% to 74.5% (p < 0.001). The percentage of people who felt that medication photographs on a medicine bag were helpful for safety increased from 63.6% to 82% (p < 0.001), and of those who felt that medication imprint codes on the medicine bag were helpful increased from 52.5% to 77% (p < 0.001). All pharmacists thought that printing the photograph and imprint code of a medication was helpful in making medications safer to use. The monthly average medication dispensing error rate decreased from 0.042% to 0.034%.


Printing medication photographs and imprint codes on medicine bags may help patients and pharmacists use medications more safely.

Medication dispensing error rates; Medication imprint code; Medication photograph


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