Introduction: According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), over 90 million people in the U.S. have difficulty understanding and using health information including medication labels. Purpose: To determine how individuals interpret medication labels and the relationship between medication label interpretation and level of health literacy. Method: Participants were recruited from a student-run health fair and a University Relay for Life. After securing consent, participants completed demographic information and the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM). Participants were asked to blindly choose three medication containers from a bag. The labels were prepared by a registered pharmacist and affixed to medication containers. In response to questions, participants relayed information perceived to be on the labels. Sample: There were a total of 21 participants. Ages ranged from 18-89 years. Education levels varied from 10th grade to master’s degree. Findings: Using content analysis, respondents were unable to correctly interpret dosing directions on four out five medication labels. Participants added incorrect information not on the labels. No relationship was found between REALM scores and the ability to correctly interpret medication labels. Conclusions: Findings support that nurses should ask clients to restate medication label information. This assessment of understanding may increase a client's ability to adhere to the medication regimen.
Sechrist, Jennifer; O’Reilly, Brittany; Jankauski, Katherine; Czekala, Emily; and Salinas, Lily, "Health Literacy: Understanding Medication Labels" (2013). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 274.