Thursday, August 09, 2007

Re-thinking the Medicine Cabinet

Designing a better prescription label ...

"A recent story, that’s quickly becoming a classic, is the origin and design of the Target pill bottle and the surrounding ClearRX system. It’s an inspiring and instructive story about the power of design to impact business and to change people’s lives. In advance of her keynote at Adaptive Path’s User Experience Week, Brandon Schauer, Design Strategist at Adaptive Path, talked to designer Deborah Adler, designer of the ClearRX pill bottle, about her experience.

Brandon Schauer [BS]: Your session at UX Week it’s titled “ClearRX from Masters Thesis to Medicine Cabinet.” Can you give us a quick summary of what ClearRX really is?

Deborah Adler [DA]: Sure, ClearRX is a packing system for people who use prescription medicine. It makes it easier for people to understand how to take their medicine.

BS: But Target didn’t ask you to design this?

DA: They did not. Actually, my project began as a student project. I was getting my Masters at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and the program is called Designer as Author; you have to come up with a product and effectively and eventually bring it to market. At the time, I was coming up with my thesis and my grandmother accidentally took my grandfather’s medicine; they were both prescribed the same drug, but just different dosage strengths. When I looked in their medicine cabinet, I wasn’t at all surprised by their befuddlement because it turned out that their package was practically identical. So that’s when I decided, “Hey, maybe I’ll redesign the prescription bottle for my thesis.” And that’s what I did, and after I did that I brought it to Target.
BS: I know you took a look at the broader experience occurring out in the world with the current pill bottle system after your grandparent’s accident. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

DA: When my grandparents had the accident, I wanted to make sure that they were not alone, so I started to research the topic to make sure that it was a valid project. I quickly learned that they were not alone and, in fact, sixty percent of Americans mistake their medication. Compliance is a big issue in this industry, and it’s actually an area that had been untouched. A lot of attention goes to medication errors that happen in hospitals, but not necessarily in the home environment. I wanted to tap into that and see if I could make a contribution in that area."    (Continued via UX Magazine)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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