Objective: Written medicine information is essential to support spoken information from pharmacists, but must be fit-for-purpose. This study applied "user testing" to the booklet supplied to UK patients taking anticoagulant medicines.
Methods: "User testing" uses mixed-methods, applied iteratively, to assess document performance - can people find and understand key points of information through a questionnaire and short semi-structured interview. The booklet was tested in 3 rounds of 10 people. After each round it was revised according to participants' responses, and re-tested.
Results: The first round questionnaire identified problems with 6/18 information points (booklet purpose; other information; what affected daily doses; effect of ibuprofen; tablet colour; drinking alcohol); interviews raised further issues. The booklet was revised and, in the second testing round, one problem identified (changing doses of other medicines); the interviews raised fewer issues. After further re-wording and re-design, a third round showed all questions found and understood by at least 8/10 participants.
Conclusion: User testing assesses whether people can find and understand key information and can be applied using small numbers of participants. Application to medicine information can markedly improve performance.
Practice implications: Information producers should consider user testing to ensure documents are 'fit for purpose' in informing patients.
Crown Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.