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Bruce Ira Gaynes, Tatyana Spektor, Nicole Nikolic; Hospitalization rate among chronically ill low vision patients using a home prescription label reader vs. a pill box.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):4160.
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ScripTalk® is a text-to-speech prescription medication label reader designed to help the visually impaired prevent medication administration errors in the home environment. Our study focuses on characterizing the users of ScripTalk®, highlighting risk factors for adverse events, and addressing efficacy of the label reader technology vs use of common pill-box organizers.
A retrospective cohort study was done with 84 high-risk chronically ill patients enrolled into the ScripTalk® program from 2006-2011 at the Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital focusing on the degree of visual impairment, co-morbidities, use of a pillbox, reported missed medications, and hospitalizations.
In our study sample, patients who did not use a pillbox had approximately double the rate of hospitalizations per year compared to pillbox users. With regard to non-modifiable risk factors, patients with visual impairment from both diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma had the highest average yearly hospitalization rate. Of note, the overall adherence rate with ScripTalk reader was found to be approximately 13%. Interestingly, patients with no light perception were approximately five times more likely to miss taking their medications compared to those with higher levels of visual acuity, despite use of the ScripTalk device.
With respect to modifiable risk factors, the use of a pillbox appears to be a relatively simple and effective addition to assist visual impaired patients in appropriate home medication use. The implementation of a prescription label reader appears to offer benefit in reducing hospitalization rate among individuals with visual impairment and concomitant non-modifiable risk factors for home medication misadventure, however durability of the device in terms of persistence of use appears to be low.
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