Comprehension by older people of medication information with or without supplementary pharmaceutical pictograms

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-175
Journal / PublicationApplied Ergonomics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


This study examined the benefits of pharmaceutical pictograms for improving comprehension of medication information for older people. Fifty Hong Kong Chinese older people completed a medical information comprehension task for five drugs. Participants in the control group were presented with text labels while those in the experimental group were given the text labels plus supplementary pharmaceutical pictograms, and then all reported their understanding of the medication information conveyed. Lower educated older people had poorer understanding of medication information. The addition of pharmaceutical pictograms significantly improved the comprehension of medication information for older people. The majority of older people tested with pictograms favored adding pictograms to text and thought the pictograms were useful for conveying medical information rather than using written text alone. The findings suggested that pharmaceutical and health care professionals should include pharmaceutical pictograms on labels to better convey instructions on medication to older people.

Research Area(s)

  • Comprehension, Medication information, Older people, Pharmaceutical symbols