Today we talk about innovative uses of QR codes (Quick Response Bar Code Readers). QR stands for “quick response,” and that’s what these little boxes are all about. In essence, they’re bar codes that can be read with any mobile phone that has a QR code reader (which are free apps). Instead of requiring you to surf to a website or dial a phone number, the QR code connects you automatically. Just point your smartphone at a QR code, and you’re connected. QR codes are free and easy to generate with any number of web-based programs.
I used delivr to create the code above. It took less than a minute to copy the URL, find a generator, and create the code.
QR codes have the potential to become rich communication tools to inform consumers about brand’s causes. For example with a bit of innovative thinking we might start seeing QR codes that contain videos to inspire consumers to support the causes and ideas to help NGO’s or, how they can work with a brand as partner to change the story. Sounds far fetched? Let have a look at this great case study today – The N Building, a structure in a Tokyo shopping district that at first glance looks kind of like a giant Tetris screen until you realize that the fancy geometric design on its facade isn’t merely ornamental: It’s code-QR code, to be exact. What that code allows passers by to do is nothing short of amazing. Check out the video included in this blog post.
Passersby simply hold up their phones to scan the constantly changing codes, which reveal what is going on inside the building. Consumers can browse for information, make reservations, and download coupons from the digital billboard. It changes how people move through their environment, adding a layer of opportunities for communication between brands and consumers.
But let’s take this a step further and look at other sectors, imagine this same creative used at a hospital for example, allowing cosnumers to hold up an AR-enabled smart phone and see all the various health promotions that the hospital offers as an educational tool for the community. You could meet the hospital nutritionist talking about diet and exercise, get diabetic receipe tips via a video or read a brief geo-tagged synopsis about about the importance of regular screening mammography in exchange for a small donation to the Breast Cancer Foundation or another cause.
There is also the possibility for social entrepreneurs to take this idea and sponsor QR codes on trains, car signage, ferries buses, even at airports that aim to increasingly generate larger contributions possibly via crowdfunding to a cause based on each scanner’s engagement level, starting with visting the cause’s website, and posting a status update on facebook, tweeting about it, pinning the story on pinterest, all the way to making a donation, purchasing a relevant info product and more.
With this in mind, let’s look at how some innovative health care organisations are using QR codes.
1: Opt-in for reminders: American Cancer Society.
The American Cancer Society leveraged QR code technology to drive users to a highly targeted mobile Website allowing users to sign-up for reminders about their breast cancer walk, send alerts to friends and donate to their cause.
2: Driving traffic to a mobile app: Curatio CME Institute.
Curatio used the bar code to the left to drive clinicians to a mobile application of their Clinical Educator pocket tool. They used an other code on the front panel of a hematology symposium program book so participating physicians could access the Power Point slides on their mobile device.
3: QR Codes as an Assistive Technology
Digit-Eyes is an iPhone 3G app for the blind and visually impaired community. It makes text or audio QR Code labels you can read with your iPhone.
It is about being able to extend the story using technology as the conduit. If the story you ahve to tell in terms of patient education for example is used in multiple ways you have more opporunity for it to be sticker and to get cut through with the message. As the below diagram illustrates it goes beyond using a mobile url.
Here are some other innovative ways to use QR codes in healthcare:
1. Phone numbers. QR codes don’t have to connect with web addresses. They can also be linked with phone numbers, contact information, email addresses, and texts. A QR code can help you make an instant connection, without asking a prospective patient to remember or type a phone number.
2. Healthcare professional profiles. Want to give patients more information about your practice than can be contained in an advertisement? Link them to an online profile of your practice. Better yet, link them with a video of you telling them about yourself. This way, patients get to experience some of your personality and decide whether you’re the sort of doctor they’d like to see in person.
A call to action perhaps – “A free first aid kit? Sign me up immediately.”
3. Special promotions. Do you have a free or low-cost health screening offer? Is your practice involved in a health promotion – ie Heart Week, Breast Cancer Month? Are you hosting seminars? Offering a gift in exchange for an email address? It could be as simple as healthy recipes for autumn etc. Connect directly with your Internet-based sign-up forms with a QR code.
4. Procedure and equipment videos. Patients want to know what they’re getting into before they agree to a procedure. Don’t just show them a picture of a new piece of high-tech equipment–show them how it works with a web video linked to a QR code. It turns a static advertisement into a multimedia experience. Or perhaps take them through a guided tour of your practice, meet the practice manager, the nurse, your team of doctors and more. Take the opportunity to extend the relationship online, in a professional and friendly manner.
5. Maps. Your QR code can link to a Google map–so your patients don’t have to type your address into a browser to find you. Th easier you make it for your patients to find you and indeed make an appointment with you the more liekly you are to build long term loyalty. In this age of convenience and speed take the opportunity to use technology to simplify thinsg for your patients, not make them more complicated by requiring all communication just during business hours.
6. Health tips. Link QR codes to microsites, blogs, videos, podcasts, and other Internet-based health information. Patients won’t have to search for the timely advice they need–they can just point their smartphones at your QR code and connect immediately.
7. Post-procedure instructions. A QR code can link patients with online documents that provide instructions on how to care for themselves after a procedure, physical therapy videos, and more.
8. Doctor-to-Doctor communications. There’s no reason to use QR codes only for patient communications: docs use smartphones, too. You can use QR codes to provide contact information for referrals, and profile your practice.
In the era of the time poor, technology should allow us to make things easier and if QR codes are used innovatively to push the user to the story, adds value and is integrated across every touchpoint you have a signifcantly higher