טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentPalatin Ilan
SubjectUsing Principles from Research on Visual Search, Visual
Grouping and Word Recognition for the Redesign of
Medication Labels
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Daniel Gopher


Abstract

The objective of the present study was to find ways to facilitate the search for the required drug in medication cabinets, located in every hospital ward, and by that to reduce human error in the administration of medications. Based on observations and interviews, four major potential causes of error in this process emerged, the two most important of which are: (1) confusion between different drugs; (2) confusion between different doses of one drug.

To address the potential causes of error, we reviewed the relevant literature on visual search, word recognition, and visual grouping. Based on this literature, we suggested two new designs of labels which attempt to solve these two causes of error. To reduce confusion between different drugs, drug names were typed in lowercase letters, with only the first letter in uppercase. We also highlighted the main search item in each label; to reduce confusion between different doses of the same drug, we used the Gestalt principles of visual grouping. The new designs differed only in the visual grouping method applied in each of them.

We predicted an advantage for the two suggested designs over the existing labels in response time and errors.

To test these predictions we formulated a computerized simulation of the cabinet. Forty-five naive participants performed 600 search trials in the simulated cabinet. Each participant was presented with just one of the designs throughout the experiment. The results showed that using the new designs could lead to faster performance and less error.