Simple ideas usually work the best.
Lilly recently announced the launch of their color differentiation system for their U-100 insulin products in the United States (think Humalog® and Humalin®). Our thought? EXCELLENT idea! We're glad to see it and not a moment too soon. We know there are plenty of people with diabetes who have accidentally used the wrong type of insulin. Some have put long-acting insulin in pumps; others have given 15 units of Humalog instead of Lantus without realizing; etc. But beyond the normal mistakes people can make (young and older alike), remember that there are many people in the United States that have problems understanding the doctor's instructions. Health literacy can be as much of an obstacle to diabetes management as access to insulin in the United States. It's definitely a problem we should be working on equally while researching for a cure as part of the care to keep everyone healthy while we wait!
We give a thumbs up to these improved safety measures that will help patients use insulin correctly. Remember, it's important to always look at the label and read it correctly, follow your doctor's orders, etc. and we are glad for the extra recognition factor to assist in correctly identifying insulin. Lilly plans to introduce the color differentiation system in all insulin products, from vials to pens to individual packaging. This follows Lilly's 2004 introduction of bar coding of packaging and insulin vials. The color system will be introduced throughout 2008 with colors indicating both insulin 'family' and insulin 'type' (burgundy for Humalog; blue for Humalin; yellow for Regular; insulin mixes will have two colors).
What do you think are other ways to address the health literacy obstacle to diabetes management?