Enhanced Formats for Drug Information: Effects on Attention, Comprehension and Memory

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
FDA-White Oak Bldg. 2, Room 2047E
Ann Anonsen


Ruth S. Day, PhD
Director Medical Cognition Laboratory
Duke University

Lecture Abstract

Drug information can pose cognitive challenges for professionals as well as patients. However even when the information load for a given drug is heavy, complex, and technical, certain formats can make it make it easier to find needed information, understand it, remember it, and use it in a safe and effective manner.  This presentation includes:

  1. Formats that can facilitate or impede successful cognition;
  2. Examples from the prescription drug label, OTC drug facts label, and patient-directed materials (CMI, PMI);
  3. Experiments examining the effects of alternative formats on attention, comprehension, memory, search, and other cognitive processes; and
  4. Results from cognitive experiments with a wide range of participants (physicians, patients, non-patients) across a wide range of ages (19-97), education, occupation, and geographic location.


Professor Ruth Day earned the PhD Stanford University (cognitive science) and was on the faculty at Stanford and Yale before joining the faculty at Duke University.  She has also been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, Visiting Scholar at Carnegie-Mellon University, and Faculty at the Linguistic Institute of America.  She is the Director of the Medical Cognition Laboratory at Duke, Senior Fellow at the Duke Center for the Study of Aging, and Special Government Employee at FDA. Her FDA work includes charter membership in the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee (AC) and service on many other AC’s including Arthritis, Anesthetic and Life Support, Anti-Infectives, Cardiac and Renal, Dermatologic & Ophthalmic, Endocrinologic and Metabolic, Gastrointestinal, Nonprescription, Oncology, Pediatric, Peripheral and Central Nervous System, Pharmaceutical Science and Clinical Pharmacology, and Psychopharmacological. Her research examines both basic cognitive processes (attention, memory, comprehension, language, problem solving) and medical cognition (how professionals and patients understand, remember, and use medical information).

Audience: Public 


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