International Packaging Symbols: Lost in Translation

August 19, 2013 – 12:45 pm

A study on how nurses use medical packaging and a smart phone that becomes a medical device are the most discussed recent topics on the Medical Packaging Innovation site.

As greater emphasis is placed on global standards, it’s important that the essentials don’t get lost in translation. In a recent blog post on Medical Packaging Innovation, EMDT Editor in Chief Norbert Sparrow discusses international symbols for packaging, which were developed to eliminate the need for text and translations. Unfortunately, many nurses still don’t know the meaning of some of the most common ones, such as the factory symbol (for manufacturer). As a result, manufacturers are starting to write out words under the symbols, and some may also start translating them. If this continues, it would make these symbols useless. Several other interesting and surprising facts about how nurses interact with packaging were revealed in a 2013 study, which you can read more about on the MPI site.

Smart phones are increasingly used in digital health, but often this use is limited to apps that can be downloaded on the phone. Even more interesting are add-ons to a smart phone that can turn it into another device. A recent blog post on Medical Packaging Innovation highlights one such innovation, a cradle that, together with an app, turns a smart phone into a high-resolution spectrophotometer that can be used for diagnosis of diseases and other medical applications.

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