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Jury's Still Out On QR Codes

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media, September 21, 2011

Another benefit of the codes is to provide cost savings relating to patient education. Instead of installing costly patient education kiosks, health leaders can provide QR codes in waiting rooms. Patients can then scan the codes to gain more information about a particular topic or procedure.

"Also, it's more private because you can view the information on your phone, without having to ask anyone," Jones says.

The Negatives

A potential downside to QR codes is usability. Knowing your demographic is important when deciding where and if to implement a QR code.

Not all people have smartphones and thus, do not have the ability to scan the code. Although 83% of Americans have a cell phone, only 35% of the population has a Smartphone, according to Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. 

Bernie Schultz, senior marketing specialist for WI-based Monroe Clinic, knows that his patient demographic is mostly elderly patients who would see the print ad but most likely would not have the right technology to access the online portion.

If a healthcare facility is looking to use the QR code, it also must make sure that the linked website will be compatible with the mobile platform. Example: Is your website in flash? Then it will not work on a tablet PC. The user must also have a mobile app with the ability to scan the code; many of these apps are available for free.

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6 comments on "Jury's Still Out On QR Codes"


Mike Losee (9/23/2011 at 4:09 PM)
Great article and very topical points. I hosted a roundtable at SHSMD on Mobile marketing and the QR code issues of relevancy and knowing your audience were key parts of the discussion. It's great to see the SHSMD attendees emphasize that you simply can't "QR code just for the sake of QR coding". Hopefully, all of the C-suites will agree!

Zach (9/22/2011 at 2:59 PM)
Interesting article - QR codes are definitely growing in use. However, in order for them to be effective, you have to deliver quality content. Whether you are marketing your brand with QR codes, SMS short codes, or StarStar Numbers, you need to deliver your customers something valuable. Thanks for the article!

Zach (9/22/2011 at 2:53 PM)
Interesting article - QR codes are definitely growing in use. However, in order for them to be effective, quality content must be delivered. Whether you are promoting your brand with QR codes, sms short codes, or StarStar Numbers, you need to deliver something of value to your customers. Thanks for the article!