Technology has done a great deal in simplifying human life besides keeping the world in touch, technological applications are modifying our way of living every day. Since computers are almost everywhere in the world today, information of interest concerning every individual can be tracked and displayed in a computer screen no matter the distance between the computer and the person his records say health records are investigated. Technology has been employed in various fields ranging from, engineering, business, economics, accounting and even the field of medicine and nursing. For years, it has been difficult to reach patients during times of emergencies due to lack of clear and enough information about their health records and location. The field of medical sciences is trying to fix this using Quick Response (QR) Codes technology.
Quick Response (QR) Codes
QR Code is an example of a matrix barcode and has a label which is machine optically readable usually attached to an item and serves to record information of interest concerning the item. QR code has the capability of encoding information about an item in four standards data modes, that is; Numeric, byte, alphanumeric and kanji. QR coding grew popular in the automotive industry because of its larger storage capability and fast readability in comparison to standard UPC barcodes. QR Code applications generally include; Item identification, tracking and document management (Pine, 2010).
A QR Code is made of square spots (black modules) lined in a square crisscross on a white background. A QR Code can be read using imaging devices like cameras and the encoded data processed using continuous Reed-Solomon error correction in anticipation of interpretation of the image is obtained. The data about the item can be obtained from all the dimensions of the image, that is; both horizontal and vertical components (Rand, 2011).
Use of QR Codes in healthcare
2D codes among them are QR Codes are gaining popularity in society and medicine. For several years, patients with severe medical problems like epilepsy, diabetes or severe allergies had to put on special pendants or bracelets to give warning to emergency workers. QR Codes can be used instead of bracelets and EMTs or other emergency professionals can scan the QR code on medical bracelets as quick as possible to gain access to the information concerning the patient; for instance, the EMT can learn more on the clients, blood type, health condition, allergies, emergency contact, DNRs and other information of interest about the client. QR Coding is the new simplified application of technology to replace pendants and bracelets. QR codes in health science can serve a great deal in informing patients about what hospitals can provide and the services available for patients. In addition, patients can access information on their prevailing conditions and treatment (Shaw, 2012).
For all these to be considered an advantage, people have to create an online data profile containing their personal information and more specifically their medical data. Each created profile will be attached a unique code linked to the personal profile created. The codes are printable on anything and thus the can be obtained and placed at clients convenient points. Emergency workers in Marin County opt to adapt the coding because of the capability to disseminate information as fast as possible in addition to patient engagement as a requirement of the medical fraternity. The codes are informative to patients and makes patients become part and parcel of the whole medication process (Shaw, 2012). The coding system allows clients to obtain clear and precise data about the emergency room waiting line and times. This will serve to inform patients on their appropriate time for meeting the emergency team or doctors. The patients also get access to background information about the doctors in the emergency team in addition to those in their service during times of emergencies. Clients can also use the codes to access information about their serving emergency team.
More importantly about the emergency issues of Marin County is the use of codes for alerting emergencies. The codes can direct a client to vital emergency numbers like hospital emergency number and help lines. This time saving during urgent situations as one do not have to punch the number into your phone but you just have to scan the QR code and the number will automatically dial. When one requires urgent answers to prevailing situations he or she has to visit the website for the emergency team and you will get instant answers to your describable conditions. One do not need to talk to many people in order to be directed where he or she can get urgent service, you only need to search for information from helpline or the website (Shaw, 2012).
However, QR Codes like any other technological based information is subject to piracy and malicious use. Personal information can leak to ill-fated individuals who might use personal information of clients to carry out crimes. Thus it calls for professionalism in handling clients’ bio and other personal delicate data. Furthermore, computer based applications are subject to technical failures and as a result patients may not be reached at their expectation.
Pine, P. (2010). Peterson's master the SAT 2012: Includes Qr (Quick Response) Codes for Use With Mobile Phones With Camera or Smartphones. Lawrenceville, N.J: Peterson's.
Rand McNally 2012 Road Atlas Includes Qr (Quick Response) Codes for Use With Moblie Phones With a Camera or Smartphones. (2011). Rand McNally.
Shaw, M. QR codes in health care.(2012)