University of Alberta researchers have developed software that enables users to research information on drugs that may have been taken accidentally. Alberta professors Lisa Given and Stan Rueker say they designed the software to help senior citizens suffering from debilitating visual and motor impairments.
"We started our research with seniors in mind because we recognize that we have an aging population, which means age-related issues seniors need to deal with," Given says. As part of the testing procedures, patients 65 and older were asked to imagine they had just dropped and mixed up their pills. Using the program, which contains more than 1,000 pills in its database, the seniors were able to identify and re-organize the pills. The system also has the ability to add more drugs to the database.
Special considerations were taken when designing the program's interface, such as font size and contrast, to cater to an aging user population. Given and Rueker hope to develop similar applications for smartphones and note the software also would be useful to poison control centers and hospital emergency rooms.
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