Research database

This Research Database has been developed by HCPC Europe to create an overview of the available research in the field of patient-friendly and adherence packaging. The database is for all members of HCPC Europe. Members can register as a user to get access to the database. Is your organisation not a member yet? Then please register your organisation as a member or contact our Executive Director Ger Standhardt for more information.

Food Packaging Design Accessibility Guidelines

The Food Packaging Design Accessibility Guidelines were originally developed by Arthritis Australia and Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Principal Research Scientist Dr Brad Fain for HealthShare NSW. The guidelines were part of a program designed to address issues patients had with opening portion controlled food packaging, which impacted their independence and nutrition. The guidelines were a world first and are now used to assist brand owners and manufacturers to develop packaging that is easy to understand, read and open by consumers. This is achieved by assisting the packaging industry to understand consumer’s abilities to complete tasks, such as the amount of force consumers can exert when removing a seal or cap.

Interventions to Improve Adherence in Patients with Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Disorders: A Systematic Review


In patients with immune-mediated inflammatory disorders, poor adherence to medication is associated with increased healthcare costs, decreased patient satisfaction, reduced quality of life and unfavorable treatment outcomes.


To determine the impact of different interventions on medication adherence in patients with immune-mediated inflammatory disorder

Dispensing eye drops from flexible plastic dropper bottles. Part III: Comparison between volunteers and elderly patients

The delivery of drops from flexible plastic dropper bottles by ten healthy volunteers was compared to that by six elderly patients aged 50 years or older. During the dispensing of the drops the air pressure inside the bottle, the weight of the drops and the time necessary to dispense a drop were registered. The influence of the flexibility of the dropper bottle and the design of the dropper tip was investigated. In general, the drop delivery data of the elderly patients were comparable to those of the healthy volunteers. However, the patients squeezed the dropper bottles fitted with a special design dropper tip less strongly as the volunteers, resulting in a lower air pressure difference, but a higher drop weight. For one subject, a patient with severe arthritis, dispensing drops from this special design dropper tip was at the limit of the capability to squeeze. Overall, the stiffness of the dropper bottle had no significant effect on the delivery of drops by the volunteers or the patients. On the other hand, the smaller the inner aperture diameter of the dropper tip, the larger the air pressure difference created inside the bottle and the longer the dispensing time.

The difficulty of opening medicine containers in old age: A population-based study

Objectives: To investigate elderly people’s ability to open medicine containers, and how this ability correlates to some common disorders that may cause functional or cognitive impairment.

Methods: Cross-sectional study of older people age 81 years and older, from the second follow-up (1994–1996) of the Kungsholmen project, a population based study of very old people in an urban area of Stockholm, Sweden. Six hundred and four persons (mean age 86.7 years) were tested for their ability to open three types of medicine containers. The disorders studied were rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cognitive impairment (measured by mini-mental state examination, MMSE) and impaired vision.

Results: We found that 14% were unable to open a screw cap bottle, 32% a bottle with a snap lid, and 10% a blister pack. Female gender, higher age, living in an institution, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cognitive impairment and impaired vision were all associated with a decreased ability to open the containers. Less than half of the elderly people who were unable to open one or more of the containers received help with their medication. Among those living in their own homes only 27% received help.

Conclusion: Older peoples’ ability to open medicine containers is impaired by several conditions affecting physical and cognitive functioning. Many elderly people who are unable to open medicine containers do not receive help with their medication, particularly those living in their own homes.


Critical factors in opening pharmaceutical packages: A usability study among healthcare workers, women with rheumatoid arthritis and elderly women

This cross‐sectional study compared the usability of pharmaceutical packages to determine the critical factors involved in packages with different opening mechanisms. Four packaging types (a bottle with a screw cap, a box with a pill plate, disposable plastic droppers with a container and a jar with a hinge cap) were evaluated by 45 women (nurses, older women and women with rheumatoid arthritis). Usability was evaluated for subjective measures related to the ease of opening and for objective measures related to the time needed to open the packaging, electrical muscular activity (electromyography, EMG) and ranges of motion of the upper extremities.

Of the arthritic women, 13% were unable to open the screw‐cap bottle, and 20% did not succeed in opening the plastic dropper packaging. Everyone else, except one older woman handling the plastic dropper packaging, managed to open all the packages. Regarding the ease of opening, the participants gave the plastic dropper packaging the lowest rating (p < 0.001). The arthritic women used greater relative biomechanical strain while opening the screw cap bottle and the box with pill plate compared with the other participants (p < 0.05), with the relative muscular strain in the forearm varying by 29–40% for the maximal EMG activity and the relative range of motion in the wrist being 70–90% of the maximal range of motion.

These findings revealed both subjectively and objectively measured features on the usability of pharmaceutical packages. The comprehensibility of the opening mechanism and the ease of handling the package should be considered when user‐friendly products are being created.