Wireless Tool Reads Rx Labels
To help millions of visually impaired and elderly patients read the small print on medication labels, En-Vision America Inc. is developing a device that translates prescription labels into speech, the AP/Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports. Called ScripTalk, the device is a small handheld voice synthesizer that reads aloud prescription "smart labels," which are embedded with a computer chip. By reading aloud the drug's name, dosage and safety warnings, ScripTalk could reduce the number of potentially "dangerous" medication errors. In addition to assisting the visually impaired, the device can be modified to reduce language barriers. ScripTalk is being tested at Chicago's Hines Veterans Administration Hospital to determine how "helpful it truly is," while Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center will conduct a separate test to see if the device reduces medication errors. En-Vision America plans to market ScripTalk to pharmacies and insurers. Each "reader" costs about $250, and pharmacies would be required to purchase a "special" $1,000 printer that encodes a microchip into the smart labels (Neergaard, AP/Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 1/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.