Accessible Prescriptions Available In Ontario At Shoppers
by Jeffrey Stark
January 30th, 2016
New Service to Access Information on Prescription Medication Labels Dispensed by Shoppers Drug Mart in Ontario
Reading or understanding the contents and instructions of labels on prescription medications is a source of problems and frustration for many people, particularly for persons who are blind and others who have difficulty reading print material. The small print and look-alike packaging of medicine vials can lead to confusion, non-compliance, and mistakes. A solution to this serious issue, the ScripTalk Station prescription reading device, developed by EnVision America, is now available at Shoppers Drug Marts in Ontario.
The ScripTalk works by simply pressing a button on the device and placing the special talking label over the reader, which then speaks all the information printed on the label including drug name, dosage & instructions; warnings and contraindications; pharmacy information; doctor name; prescription number and date; warnings etc. More information on the ScripTalk technology can be found at ScripTalk | En-Vision America – Assistive Technology for the Blind and Low-vision Community. You can also view an overview video of the ScripTalk for Pharmacies on YouTube and an overview video of the ScripTalk system for customers on YouTube.
The first step to obtain a ScripTalk prescription reader is to contact your Shoppers Drug Mart owner/pharmacist who is responsible for initiating the process. Information on the ScripTalk was sent, a while ago, to all Shoppers Drug Mart stores in Ontario. Customers who are blind should discuss their needs with their pharmacist, who can then contact their field support teams with any inquiries regarding available options.
Once you have decided to get the ScripTalk reader, you will be asked to sign a program registration document required by EnVision America, who will then send a reader directly to you. There is no cost to the customer who is blind.
The ScripTalk Mobile app is also available in the Google Play Store. It provides another way to read the ScripTalk labels prescription information on some, but not all, Android devices. ScripTalk is not available at present for iPhones and other Apple devices, because Apple does not allow the use of Near Field Communication (NFC), which is required in order to read the RFID labels being affixed on medication containers for the ScripTalk.
There is, at present, a 48 hour lag time between requesting a medication at your pharmacy, and the pharmacist sending the information to Shoppers Drug Mart Head Office who then prepare the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) lables required by the ScripTalk device. New prescriptions requiring immediate use will be a problem for the customers initially. Hopefully, this lag time issue will soon be resolved, so that customers can access their prescription information at the same time as the print ones are dispensed. For medications that are being refilled on a regular basis, it is a matter of planning for this lag time when renewing your supply.
Both I and several family members have received their free ScripTalk prescription reader and started receiving prescriptions with accessible labels. We can all confirm that both the Android app and stand-alone unit are very easy to use. An instruction CD is included to help with set up and operation. The ScripTalk labels are on each one of our medications, which enables all of us to finally read all the pertinent information for all our medications, for the first time.
If your Shoppers Drug Mart Store is totally unwilling or unresponsive to your drug prescription information needs, tell them to contact Ashesh Desai, who is the senior manager responsible for this service. If that does not work, then contact him directly at the coordinates below. He was very helpful to me.
Ashesh Desai Bsc. Phm |
Senior Vice-President, Pharmacy Operations and Transformation |
Shoppers Drug Mart HQ
243 Consumers Road, Toronto ON M2J 4W8
Toll free: 1800-746-7737 Open until 8:00 PM and ask for him.
At present, there is no link for information regarding the ScripTalk on the Shoppers Drug Mart website. However, Shoppers Drug Mart’s Accessible Customer Service Practice document for Ontario can be accessed at: http://files.shoppersdrugmart.ca/stores/Accessibility-Standards.pdf
I would like to thank
Chris Stark for his advocacy effors in Ontario to bring this solution to Ontario and
Rob Sleath and Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers (ASIC) for all their work on this issue in B.C. and for their help and advice to Chris as he worked with his local Shoppers Drug Mart. More information on ASIC and other drug store chains in B.C. offering the ScripTalk is available at www.asicbc.ca .