French researchers have developed a potentially very useful set of graphical icons to depict disease and drug information:
Like road signs, the VCM graphical language uses a small set of graphical signs. The current dictionary contains about 130 pictograms displayed in 5 colors. For example, current conditions of a patient are shown as red icons while risks of future conditions are orange. The physicians who tested the system learned it in a couple of hours and think this system will reduce the number of errors in drug prescriptions.
I think a universal, simplified set of icons is a great idea. Of course they wouldn’t be a replacement for drug information sheets, etc., but they could allow doctors and pharmacist to quickly identify a substance and work more safely and efficiently.