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Safety Pictograms for Healthcare Workers

The goal of this project is to improve the existing U.S. Pharmacopoeia Icon System and refine icons to significantly reduce rates of making mistakes by medical workers.

My Mission

Develop three icons in the topics of:

  1. Drugs that require airway administration

  2. Concentrated Electrolyte Formulation

  3. Drug names that look-alike and sound-alike 

Process
Process
Data
Collection
Ideation
User Test
Refine
Deliverable
Data Collection
Data Collection

Methods: Survey, Draw-it Technology

Survey 1: Participants (medical workers) were asked to write down the keywords that come to their mind about each topic.

The keywords that have top rate for each topic:

Drugs that require

airway administration

throat, airway, breathing, mouth, nose, face

Concentrated Electrolyte

Formulation

"+", "-", ion(Na, K, Cl)

Drug names that

look-alike and sound-alike 

eye, ear, similar words

Draw-it Activity: based on what we got from the first survey, a draw-it activity was conducted. The participants were asked to draw what was described in each question. 

The Drawings about my Selected Topics

Airway (in a patient) mouth open with airway  equipment/tube

Ideation
Ideation

Depend on the keywords and drawings from the participants, we developed our first drafts of design and send them to the pharmacists for the first test. The following is their feedback.

Drugs that require

airway administration

Feedback: 

"The hand is a good idea. The tube should not be as long coming out of the mouth. Do not put the separation between the airway to the lungs and esophagus."

Concentrated Electrolyte

Formulation

Feedback: 

"Important electrolytes are: Ca2+, My2+, K+. Do no put H+, Na+, or Cl-. A syringe would be better. "

Drug names that

look-alike and sound-alike 

Feedback: 

"Take off the “+” and add on the upper left of the container an Rx."

Refinement and Tests

All the refined icons of each topic was sent to pharmacist group for the test. The top 1st choice and the second top 1st choice for each category was selected for further development. 

Refinement & Test

Drugs that require airway administration

Comments: 

  • Improve anatomical features and show a clear alert/indication (equipment) for airway management (depicting an open airway or a clear air passage to the lungs).

  • Differentiate from feeding tube

  • I'd put a question sign above

  • Pictograms C - E are okay by me. However, a and b are not too clear to me.

  • The more simple the pictogram, the better.  That's why A is my first choice.

  • The circle in the picture d should contain the symbol of a medication. It will make d the preferred choice.

  • A filled syringe added to pictogram D

  • Image 1&2 need to be bolder. its quite faint

Concentrated Electrolyte  Formulation

Comments: 

  • Although some electrolytes can be administered intravenously undiluted, most aren't.  Would avoid depicting concentrated electrolytes in a syringe which may imply direct injection.

  • Use of container other than syringe

  • I would rather make the content of E to appear denser, depicting more concentrated.

  • I do not like how the electrolytes are written out. If the medication is concentrated potassium, the pictogram makes it look like it also contains the other electrolytes in the pictogram.

  • The a and b option is good if the have the electrolyte sign in the shaded portions

  • I would avoid the use of chemical symbols - could cause confusion

  • Instead of multiple electrolytes single electrolytes can be used eg. Na+ alone

  • Show a vial with a red high alert sign (a triangle) accompanied by written words 'electrolyte concentrate' or 'concentrated electrolyte formulation'.

  • This one is very difficult. E is probably simplest

Drug names that look-alike and sound-alike 

Comments: 

  • Would circle the letter that differentiates in red

  • A is the most simple pictogram and is more like how the labeling may look like in real life.

  • instead of letters it is easy to use simple words like floor dog, god etc, flour

  • Or, it could be a simple red-alert sign written look alike sound alike inside.

  • Include ear in addition to eye (for sound alike as well as look alike)

Final Design
Final Design

After another refine-test practice, we came up with the final designs. My work for  "medication that requires airway management " and "medications that look-alike and sound-alike" were included in final deliverable.

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