Universal Access in the Information Society

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 483–495 | Cite as

An empirical study examining medication management among individuals with visual impairments

  • William Easley
  • Ravi KuberEmail author
  • A. Ant Ozok
Long paper


Medication management can often be a challenging task for individuals adhering to a strict regimen. In response, a number of technologies have been developed to remind the user when to take medication and to record how often medications have been consumed. Many of these technologies have not been designed with visually impaired users in mind, making the process of access more difficult for individuals with sight loss. This study serves to identify the day-to-day issues faced by individuals with visual impairments when managing multiple medications. Strategies to identify, locate and consume medications are described. Findings from this study offer guidance to developers interested in creating more inclusive medication management solutions.


Adherence Assistive technology Medication management Mobile phones Visual impairment 


  1. 1.
    Capella-McDonnall, M.: The need for health promotion for adults who are visually impaired. J. Vis. Impair. Blind. 101, 133–145 (2007)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Thylefors, B., Négrel, A.D., Pararajasegaram, R., Dadzie, K.Y.: Global data on blindness. Bull. World Health Organ. 73, 115–121 (1995)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ley, E.R.: Winning strategies for tracking medicine. In: Voice diabet (2007). Accessed 20 Mar 2015
  4. 4.
    Hughes, R.G., Blegen M.A.: Defining patient safety and quality care. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US) (2008)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Equal Rights Center: A Report by the Equal Rights Center Ill-prepared health care’s barriers for people with disabilities (2011)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
  7. 7.
    Report to Congress: Aging Services technology study (2012) Accessed 21 Mar 2015
  8. 8.
    Weeraratne, C.L., Opatha, S.T., Rosa, C.T.: Challenges faced by visually disabled people in use of medicines, self-adopted coping strategies and medicine-related mishaps. WHO South-East Asia J Public Health 1, 256–267 (2012)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Martin, A., Jones, J., Gilbert, J.: A spoonful of sugar: understanding the over-the-counter medication needs and practices of older adults. In: Proceedings of ICTs improvement. Patients rehabilitation research technology IEEE, pp. 93–96 (2013)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Burton, D., Swisher, C., Uslan, M.: Diabetes and visual impairment: are insulin pumps accessible? In: AFB AccessWorld Mag. (2004). Accessed 29 Dec 2015
  11. 11.
    Uslan, M., Eghtesadi, C., Spiker, A., et al.: Managing diabetes with a visual impairment. (2002). Accessed 29 Dec 2015
  12. 12.
    Taylor, S., Burton, D., Uslan, M.: Diabetes and visual impairment: are home blood pressure monitors accessible? In: AFB AccessWorld Mag. (2004). Accessed 29 Dec 2015
  13. 13.
    Burton, D., Uslan, M.: Diabetes and visual impairment: are insulin pens Accessible? In: AFB AccessWorld Mag. (2008). Accessed 29 Dec 2015
  14. 14.
    Dayer, L., Heldenbrand, S., Anderson, P., et al.: Smartphone medication adherence apps: potential benefits to patients and providers. J. Am. Pharm. Assoc. 53, 172–181 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Milne, L.R., Bennett, C.L., Ladner, R.E.: The Accessibility of Mobile Health Sensors for Blind Users. In: 29th annual international technology and persons with disability conference science proceedings (2014)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Food and drug administration’s study on accessible prescription labels—American foundation for the blindGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    United States Access Board: Working group recommendations—United States Access Board. (2013). Accessed 20 Mar 2015
  18. 18.
    Ervasti, M., Isomursu, M., Idigoras Leibar, I.: Touch-and audio-based medication management service concept for vision impaired older people. In: RFID-Technologies Appl. (RFID-TA), 2011 IEEE International Conference, pp. 244–251 (2011)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Harjumaa, M., Isomursu, M., Muuraiskangas, S., Konttila, A.: HearMe: a touch-to-speech UI for medicine identification. In: Pervasive computing technology healthcare (PervasiveHealth), 2011 5th International Conference pp 85–92 (2011)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lee, M.L., Dey, A.K.: Real-time feedback for improving medication taking. In: Proceedings of 32nd Annual ACM Conference Human factors Computation System—CHI’14. ACM Press, New York, New York, USA, pp. 2259–2268 (2014)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zun, L.S., Downey, L., Brown, S.: Completeness and accuracy of emergency medical information on the web: update 2008. West J. Emerg. Med. 12, 448–454 (2011). doi: 10.5811/westjem.2010.10.1607 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kupferberg, N., Protus, B.M.: Accuracy and completeness of drug information in Wikipedia: an assessment. J. Med. Libr. Assoc. 99, 310–313 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Blindness Statistics| National Federation of the Blind. Accessed 20 Mar 2015
  24. 24.
    Isomursu, M., Ervasti, M., Tormanen, V.: Medication management support for vision impaired elderly: scenarios and technological possibilities. In: 2009 2nd International Symposium of Applied Science in Biomedical and Communication Technologies IEEE, pp 1–6 (2009)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Sears, A., Hanson, V.L.: Representing users in accessibility research. ACM Trans. Access. Comput. 4, 1–6 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Newell, A.F., Gregor, P.: “User sensitive inclusive design”— in search of a new paradigm. In: Proceedings on 2000 conference on universal usability—CUU’00. ACM Press, New York, New York, USA, pp 39–44 (2000)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Newell, A.F., Gregor, P., Morgan, M., et al.: User-Sensitive Inclusive Design. Univers. Access. Inf. Soc. 10, 235–243 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Abascal, J., Nicolle, C.: Moving towards inclusive design guidelines for socially and ethically aware HCI. Interact. Comput. 17, 484–505 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMBCBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations