Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Are you a QR user?

 

The 3 Rs ,  long the basis of educational dogma in the United States has been supplemented, and at times replaced by word processors, spelling and grammar checks and calculators capable of calculating algebraic, trigonometric, and calculus ..

Add to this the spice of mobile apps, smart phones with cameras and the  QR code   

image  Hold this up to your iPhone equipped with one of the  QR reader apps,   readily available at iTune for  FREE !  If it’s free, it must be free. There is also a web cam app available.

Any digital camera and web cam is capable of reading these ideograms and with the proper software spit out the message in old fashioned plain English, French, German, or whatever.

A QR (Quick Response or Quick Read) Code is a two-dimensional matrix/bar code.  Users hold their phone up to the code displayed on a sign, in a book, on a computer screen, TV, or almost anywhere.  The phone camera snaps the code and takes the user to a website or video with more information – no typing needed – just point and click.

QR Code                QR App

The hieroglyphic figures encapsulate a new wave of capturing ,storing and transmitting information.  They have been around for awhile in the shipping industry, the IRS, legal forms and provide a means of sorting documents and packages by machines.  Bar codes may be on the way out.  Their readers are more complex expensive,and require lasers. The beauty of these little beasts is that they are easily read by a camera.

If you hadn’t noticed health related applications abound:

For example, QR codes can be used to help patients use health information in specific contexts, such as when needing to:

  • take a pill
  • interact with a device (for example, a glucose meter, a smart band-aid, etc.)
  • engage in a behavior (e.g., finding a hospital, exercising, buying food, selecting a meal, etc.).
    • QR codes on food/drink packages to link to nutrition information, interactive calorie counters, and personal information about a patient’s diet plan (which would require the learner/patient to interact with a Web site linked to the QR code)
    • QR codes attached to medication labels, linking the codes to patient-friendly information, as well as physician and pharmacy contact information
    • QR codes to identify drug interactions (useful for patients and physicians) via an interactive or static Web interface
    • QR codes on devices patients use, to link to how-to information (e.g., text, video, or audio information, that could be presented in different languages)
    • QR codes to link medications, patient devices, physical locations, etc., to live assistance (e.g., nurses, other health care providers) via phone numbers associated with the code or links to sites with live chat capabilities
    • QR codes on a card the patient carries or on a key-chain attachment that’s linked to the patient’s personal health care record (PHR) and/or emergency contact information
    • QR codes to help patients identify health care providers or emergency medical services in their area
    • QR codes on the equipment on a jogging path or in a gym to encourage appropriate exercises, connect to heart rate monitors, etc.

    IF you’re smart, here are 22 ways you will use QR codes in health care.

          • Billboards advertising hospitals and medical groups will have QR codes so travelers can get more information about facilities or  get directions to the closest Emergency Department, Urgent Care or family practice.
  • Television advertising for pharmaceuticals will have QR codes so viewers can get more information on the spot.
  • Healthcare facilities will have QR codes for all types of information and videos that providers and nurses will instruct patients to scan based on their health problems.
  • Magazines and newspapers will have QR codes that readers can scan to get health information and health product coupons.
  • Scanning QR codes when exercising or purchasing healthy foods will get you reward points with your health plan, your doctor or your employer.
  • Comparison of foods that you should or should not buy in grocery stores based on your individual health problems will be easy when you scan the food’s QR codes.
  • Caregivers will scan QR codes to receive information and videos for caring for their loved one at home.
  • When purchasing over the counter medications, vitamins and supplements, you will scan the QR to make sure the medication isn’t contraindicated for any prescription medication you are taking.
  • Scanning the QR code on food or cleaning products will let you know if they contain anything that you are allergic to.
    1. At health fairs, attendees will scan QR codes for more information on health topics and your facility and services.
    2. Disposable diapers will each come with a unique QR code that Moms (and babies) can scan to get childcare tips, games, songs and medical advice.
    3. Urgent Care facilities and Emergency Rooms will have QR codes for instant access to wait times.
    4. QR codes in healthcare facilities will let users download helpful mobile healthcare applications like those that help you control your chronic illness or lose weight.
  • In print advertising for physicians, potential patients will scan the QR code to view the physicians talking about their background, their specialties and their desire to have you as a new patient!
  • Referring patients to facilities or specialty practices will be much easier when patients scan the QR code for the referral and receive information, instructions and directions to the appointment.
  • Healthcare facilities will give out t-shirts and carrying bags promoting their services and the QR codes on them will spread the word to others. (Yes, people will scan each others’ t-shirt codes!)
    1. Patients taking home halter monitors and CPAPs will be able to scan the QR code on the machine to get a “how-to” video on using it.
    2. Patients taking home sample medications from physician offices will have QR codes on the bag to scan to remember how they are to take the samples.
  • Temporary tattoo QR codes will identify those patients who won’t wear identifying bracelets, have dementia, or tend to wander away.   
  • Hospital patients will scan the menu broadcast on their TV to order their daily meals.
    1. If you are going to be late to your doctor’s appointment, you will scan a QR code to email an alert to the office that you are on the way. (Wait, maybe that’s too easy!)
    2. Pharmacies will have QRs loaded with prescription prices by insurance company plan on their website so providers can compare different drugs and chose the best drug for the patient at the best price.

Those of  you wishing to check this can get one of these apps for  your camera smart phone.  You can also obtain a web camera app if you don’t have a camera smart phone.

NeoReader,   OptiscanQR AppQuickMark

All of these QR apps can be downloaded from the download.cnet.com web site.

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