Accessible Medication Plus
Name of the practice: Accessible Medication Plus
Organisation: Fundación ONCE
Description of the organisation: The ONCE Foundation for the Cooperation and Social Inclusion of People with Disabilities was created in 1988 by the ONCE (National Organization of the Spanish Blind) as an instrument of cooperation and solidarity towards other groups of people with disabilities to improve their living conditions. Fundación ONCE's mission is to contribute to the full social inclusion of people with disabilities, helping to make the principle of equal opportunities and non-discrimination effective.
Country: Madrid, Spain
Year of initiation: 2014
Funding: The application is currently funded by the Fundación Vodafone España and Fundación ONCE with the collaboration of the Spanish General Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists (CGCOF). It was previously also co-financed by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade.
Link to UNCRPD: Article 21 – Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information
Description of practice:
Accessible Medication Plus is a free application developed for Android and iOS, which presents the information on medicine leaflets in an accessible version to ensure that patients can access and understand the content regardless of their abilities.
Medication package leaflets are often produced in inaccessible formats. Given the content is printed on paper, persons with visual impairments have few possibilities of accessing the content without requiring the help of another person. A Braille alternative is also largely unfeasible given its printing requires dimensions that are incompatible with the packaging of medicines, making it a costly investment. The design of the brochure can further act as a barrier as they are often printed in a small font size and with a contrast level that may be problematic for people with low vision abilities such as the elderly.
Solution offered: The application aims to improve access to information on medicines and to provide greater autonomy and privacy to patients with disabilities and the elderly when managing the use of their medicines. The application makes use of the barcode or Datamatrix found on the medicine packaging. Once the user opens the app and captures the code, the user will receive the information about the medicine in an accessible format on their mobile.
In addition, the app incorporates two auxiliary functions: a map that locates pharmacies closest to the user and a section entitled “My Medicines” which stores the key information on the medicines that the individual uses most frequently. The app is further capable of providing warnings about allergies or intolerances, as well as crucial instructions on the administration of medicines to coeliacs, pregnant women, and more depending on the personal profile configured.
During the development of each version of the product, the needs of the users have been considered through both group interviews and pilot tests with persons with varying disabilities. The app is regularly updated with new functionalities and upgrades.
Impact of practice:
As of July 2021, the number of downloads on Android is 59,000 and 27,300 on iOS operating systems. The app was also selected in 2019 by the Spanish Network of the United Nations Global Compact as one of the best practices on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, for its positive contribution towards the full achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal N.10 (reduction of inequalities).
Jesús Hernández Galan, Director Universal Accessibility and Innovation Directorate at Fundación ONCE: firstname.lastname@example.org