Walmart is piloting a talking prescription system that gives vision-impaired people who can't read standard print an easy way to access the information on their medications.


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Walmart tests talking prescription system

June 8th, 2012

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart is piloting a talking prescription system that gives vision-impaired people who can't read standard print an easy way to access the information on their medications.

At home, pharmacy patients use the ScripTalk Station to decode and play audio of drug information on a chip embedded in the prescription label.

The discount retailing giant said Friday that it's testing En-Vision America's ScripTalk system in the pharmacies at three stores, in Talladega, Ala.; Tupelo, Miss; and Englewood, Colo. The chain also is offering ScripTalk through its Walmart Mail Order pharmacy service.

A prescription provided with ScripTalk has an electronic chip embedded in the standard print label. To hear the information on the chip, the customer places the prescription container on the ScripTalk Station device and presses the button.

Customers who currently fill or would like to fill prescriptions through Walmart Mail Order or at the Walmart pharmacies in the pilot stores can request a free ScripTalk Station by contacting En-Vision America at (800) 890-1180, Walmart said.

"For more than 21.5 million Americans living with significant vision loss, properly identifying and taking prescription medications is challenging because they can't read container labeling," Paul Schroeder, vice president for programs and policy at the American Foundation for the Blind, said in a statement. "The Walmart pilot program addresses this often overlooked public health challenge."

The ScripTalk Station uses text-to-speech and RFID technologies to allow visually impaired pharmacy customers to hear their prescription information. A talking label can be affixed to any type of prescription drug container, and pharmacists use software to program the medication information from their computer system via a USB or a serial cable connection, according to Normal, Ill.-based En-Vision America.

At home, pharmacy patients use the table-top reader to decode and play the label information, including patient name, drug name and dosage, instructions, warnings and cautions, prescription number, pharmacy name and phone number, prescribing doctor, and patient education monographs. The information is easily repeatable, En-Vision said, the ScripTalk Station is available in multiple languages. The company added that the device also can assist those who are print impaired, such as dyslexic and illiterate customers. 

"Today's announcement demonstrates Walmart's significant leadership in serving its customers with visual impairments," stated Mitch Pomerantz, president of the American Council of the Blind. "This pilot is an important step in ensuring that people who cannot read standard print get the information they need to safely take prescription medications."

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