A service providing bilingual medication information is helping to reduce healthcare inequalities and medical errors.
Pharmacies across London are benefitting from the support of Written Medicine; a service providing bilingual dispensing labels in patients’ language of choice.
Founded in 2012, Written Medicine’s software is used by pharmacies and hospitals to translate and print medication information, instructions and warnings. Drawn from a dataset of 3,500 phrases, printed labels are available in fifteen different languages. The bi-lingual labels are supporting patients to take ownership of their treatment; giving them a better understanding of how to take their prescribed medication. The solution is helping to reduce errors, improve medication adherence and enhance patient safety and experience.
London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH) has been using Written Medicine since 2016, starting from their outpatient pharmacy in Ealing Hospital. The Trust serves an ethnically and linguistically diverse demographic across North West London, which requires interpreting services in over 40 languages, mostly from South Asia, Middle East and Eastern Europe.
An audit to assess the quality and impact of the bilingual labelling service at LNWH report in 2019 stated, “post-service questionnaire revealed all patients would like the continuation of the service by their community pharmacies demonstrating the impact it has had in patient empowerment and adherence.”.
Poureya Aghakhani, Principal Pharmacist at Ealing Hospital, part of LNWH said, “Patients who are unable to speak English are less likely to understand their doctors, pharmacists and written instructions. This can stop them from taking their medication or may result in them taking it in an unhelpful or dangerous way.
“Giving patients information in a language they understand increases awareness around how and when medication should be taken. It empowers individuals to take ownership of their treatment, improving how they manage their conditions and reduces their risk of harm."