Medication labels from the perspective of Brazilian health professionals: difficulties, level of satisfaction, and proposed improvements
Objective: To evaluate health professionals’ perceptions of medication error situations associated with labeling. Methods: Crosssectional study of 1056 nurse technicians, nurses, and pharmacists interviewed in 10 Brazilian capital cities. We assessed participants’ perceptions of difficulty in differentiating or seeing information on labels, likelihood of a medication error to occur, and frequency of medication errors, including: 1) look-alike vials or labels; 2) two packages of the same medicine but of different doses; 3) ampoule labels; 4) blister pack labels; and 5) labels printed on secondary packages. Results: Most participants reported it difficult or very difficult to differentiate between look-alike vials (82.4%) and between different doses of the same medicine (82.5%). Identifying importante information on ampoules, blister packs, and secondary packages was considered difficult or very difficult by 89.9%, 64.4%, and 48.9% of participants, respectively. Approximately half of the participants reported that an error was most likely to occur in situations involving difficulty in seeing the information on an ampoule, look-alike labels, and packages of the same medicine but of different doses. Conclusion: Difficulty in at least one of the situations involving the identification or differentiation of medication labels is common among health professionals, leading to a greater likelihood of medication errors.
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