PPIE Award Winner: FLAG-Me-Vision

by | Feb 7, 2023 | PPIE Award Winners, PPIE Celebration | 0 comments

In this blog series we will be featuring our award winners and highly commended recipients from the Faculty’s ‘Outstanding Contribution to PPIE’ awards. Showcasing the inspirational and outstanding commitment to PPIE that has made a positive difference to our community and highlighting the amazing events, activities, people and groups from across the Faculty.

Our next blog in this series will feature the Find Logo and Give Medication advice (FLAG-Me Vision) group, who co-designed a solution to support safer medication taking for patients with vision impairments in community pharmacy. FLAG-Me Vision won the Group: Highly Commended category for the 2022 awards.

Patients with visual impairments can struggle to differentiate between medication and access labels and safety information, increasing their risk of medication errors. In order to support patients with visual impairments, FLAG-Me Vision patient group, led by Dr Lisa Riste, collaborated to find ways to improve medication safety for blind or partially sighted patients, bringing together PPIE group members (with visual impairments) and community pharmacists.

The FLAG-Me Vision patient group discussed strategies such as tailored 1:1 consultations, signposting and pharmacist training were identified as solutions. The success of these however depends on pharmacists being able to identify a visually impaired person.

The discussions also revealed a number of issues in the current consultation process:

  • Pharmacists expected patients would tell them about any visual impairments, but disclosing vision impairments sometimes made patients feel vulnerable and distressed.
  • Patients expected pharmacists would see their medical record, but pharmacists’ only tend to receive medication information and their time to examine further contents of the patient medical record is limited.

It was decided that an automated logos to indicate a vision impairment on patient’s pharmacy records could help addresses this issue.

A ‘Flying Starter Award’ from Masood Entrepreneurship Centre (MEC) funded two Public Contributors, one pharmacist and two computer science students from Imago Software at The University of Manchester to explore the automated logo concept, and its impact via storyboarding. Additionally, funding was received from FBMH Research Collaboration Fund to employ six students to create the automation software, supported by ongoing PPIE input.

Students created:

  1. Software Code: Identifies patients with vision impairments, returning FLAG-Me Vision logo onto pharmacies patient medication record.
  2. Pharmacy system screen ‘mock-ups’ showing how the logo would be displayed.
  3. Website: Promotes FLAG-Me Vision, is a repository for collating pharmacy resources, strategies to reduce medication errors and patient stories.

Other initiatives:

  1. Video: Demonstrates FLAG-Me Vision use in community pharmacy. The script was developed by our PPIE group of patients and pharmacists.
  2. Training: Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) delivered in-house facilitation training to seven community pharmacists, and eight researchers.
  3. PPIE members: Felt listened to and valued. FLAG-Me Vision helped them shape medication safety for others with vision impairments, increasing awareness among pharmacists and students.

The team’s initiative has been favourably received by patients and pharmacists alike and they hope it will be hugely valuable in reducing medication errors going forward.

One patient said of the scheme: “Being able to discuss my personal information in a private setting and explore methods to help me take my medication safely and in the full knowledge of what I am taking, gives me the confidence to be able to forge a loyal bond with the pharmacist, safe in the knowledge that my health and safety is paramount.” 

FLAG-Me Vision uses an eye-catching logo commissioned by the Partially Sighted Society which when displayed on a patient’s medical record on pharmacy computers, alerts pharmacists to offer the consultations to vision-impaired patients to help reduce medication errors.

This work was funded by the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (grant number: PSTRC-2016-003). The views expressed are those of the people involved and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.


Find out more:


To find out more about PPIE: watch our short film, sign up to the monthly Public Engagement Digest, visit the PPIE blog, or contact srbmh@manchester.ac.uk.

To read more about other PPIE Award winners visit here