NPSA issues design guidelines

The National Patient Safety Agency is launching new guidance for drug dispensaries in an attempt to improve their design and cut down on the number of drugs that are inaccurately prescribed and taken.

The guidance booklets, designed by Lucid Design, focus on the design of dispensing areas and the way in which information is presented to patients, particularly dispensing labels. Two booklets urge dispensaries to ‘mistake-proof’ their systems to limit the potential for errors.

NPSA chairman Martin Fletcher says, ‘The proportion of errors is very small, but the number needs to be reduced. Many dispensing issues can be resolved through a simple redesign of space or procedures.’

The recommendations include designing patient waiting areas to allow confidential information to be exchanged without being overheard, ensuring dispensing labels are clearly laid out in a font big enough to read, and directly labelling products rather than the outer box in case this is lost.

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