Our Mission: Breaking the Silence

Pharmacist Jonathan Snipes, with support from Mission’s Give Well program, addresses a community need with talking prescription labels

By Carolyn Comeau — Coming soon to a pharmacy near you. Jonathan Snipes, Pharmacist at Mission My Care Plus Pharmacy in Candler, was motivated to initiate a service for his blind and sight impaired patients with “talking prescription labels.” Program funding was provided by the Mission Health Team Member Fund, which was created to support innovative programs that empower and educate team members and strengthen the excellent level of patient care they provide.

What are talking prescription labels?

Talking prescription labels allow blind and visually impaired patients to access their prescription medication information safely and independently, which greatly reduces the chances that patients will take their medications incorrectly. These labels allow patients to hear the instructions that accompany prescription medications, whether capsule, liquid or topical. When the patient is ready to take the medication, they press a button and the label speaks to them. This technology seems really meaningful for patients. Yes, because these patients are at higher risk for medication mistakes, and some instructions are fairly complicated. Even if a patient is taking the correct medication, they must know they’re taking the correct dosage as well, whether to take it with food or not, and other prescription-specific protocols.

Why was it important to you to develop this program?

I saw my blind and visually impaired patients struggling with this issue. We tried providing tools to help them differentiate between medications, but none were foolproof. Braille labels exist, but isn’t universally used by these patients. This system offers portability, flexibility and is customizable with security warnings, food directions and other reminders.

Has this project been rolled out yet?

Not yet, but very soon — the software and labels have been shipped and some patients are using samples now, so we’re very excited.

What does Team Member Fund support mean to you?

Without it, we couldn’t have gotten this project off the ground. It’s wonderful to know that when we identified a community need, we immediately got initial funding, with no hesitation, which enabled us to purchase initial program software and startup labels.

What is the significance of support from the Give Well campaign?

It’s all-important. I’m proud that my employer cares enough to support this valuable accommodation, which improves care quality and access to care for these patients. It’s caring for the community at its best.

Read more stories like this in the Summer 2017 edition of Our Mission at ourmissionmagazine.org. 

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