Click here to download the ID My Pill Recognition Card.

Automatic Identification of Prescription Drugs Within Images White Paper: Abstract

Last update on May 2, 2013.

This blog post is part of a white paper published by ID My Pill regarding the importance of automatically visually validating prescription drugs.


Medication errors are a leading cause of unexpected complications in hospitals and clinics. A crucial step often omitted by pharmacies, medication providers, doctors, nurses, and even patients is an effective way to visually validate the prescription drugs given to patients. Many Adverse Drug Events (ADEs) arise from assuming the physical pill in a drug bottle matches the drug name printed on the label [Hohl et al.], implying that a patient should not trust the label on the bottle alone. These ADEs could be prevented if there was a mechanism to visually validate the prescription drugs given to patients to ensure that the pill a doctor prescribes is filled correctly by the pharmacist. Furthermore, patients could also validate their own prescription drugs to ensure they are taking the correct tablet and dosage their physician had prescribed.

Before computer vision systems are constructed to identify pills within images, we must understand the current approach to medication identification in the United States. This paper examines the current mechanisms of pill identification and then provides an argument as to why a system that can automatically identify prescription drugs within images will have much practicality and use in pharmacies, hospitals, law enforcement, and even the day to day consumer.

Lastly, we argue that the automatic identification of prescription drugs within images can be used to reduce the number of deaths, injuries, and costs of adverse drug events resulting from the wrong medication taken, all while relieving the strain on Poison Control Centers throughout the United States.

Hohl CM, Nosyk B, Kuramato L, Zep PJ, Brubacher JR, Abu-Label RB, Sheps SB, Sobolev B. Outcomes of Emergency Department Patients Presenting With Adverse Drug Events. Annals of emergency medicine. 2011 September 1.

Share this post:


ID My Pill: Recognition Card

Enter your email address below to download Recognition Card. Then, print the card and cut it out.