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Hu Li Za Zhi. 2010 Oct;57(5):47-56.

[Appending Chinese language names to medicine labels: the effect on nursing staff label recognition efficacy].

[Article in Chinese]

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Department of Psychology, National Chengchi Hospital, ROC.



Oral medication administration error is a common occurrence in medical malpractice. While recent widespread medical order system computerization has reduced transcription errors (previously, the most prevalent medication administration error) by over 50%, oral medication administration error (previously, the second most prevalent medication administration error) has fallen by only 2%. Significant room exists for improvement in this latter error category.


This paper was designed to identify the effect on proper medication recognition of including Chinese language medication names on medication sheets and cards.


Medication name examination in this study comprised two elements, namely search and check. Instruments were simulations of actual medication sheets and cards. One was presented in English only, and the other was in English appended with the medication name in Chinese. Two medical wards were chosen at a medical center in middle Taiwan as target populations. The sample for this study consisted of 53 nurses, all of whom provided informed consent. Time and errors were measured, and the checking order of medical sheets was completely counterbalanced.


2x2 tables of chi-square (5.165*) for independence showed that average time consumed by accurate checking was significantly less than the average time consumed by inaccurate checking after Chinese labeling had been added. The differences in time spent and checking accuracy between these two versions were not significant. It was further found that the similar shape of Chinese characters caused more errors than similar pronunciation on medication sheets.


From the perspectives of attention and character recognition, we examined whether time consumption and accurate checking ratios differed between the standard (English) medication sheet and the new one with added Chinese. In addition to partially supporting the hypothesis of the study, results provide valuable information for medication administration procedures and for labeling medications in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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