22 Ways You Will Use QR (Quick Response) Codes in Healthcare in the Future (if You’re Smart!)


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 Codes are most common in Japan where they are currently the most popular type of two dimensional codes. (definition courtesy of Mashapedia = wikipedia and Mashable)

  1. 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.
  2. Television advertising for pharmaceuticals will have QR codes so viewers can get more information on the spot.
  3. 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.
  4. Magazines and newspapers will have QR codes that readers can scan to get health information and health product coupons.
  5. Scanning QR codes when exercising or purchasing healthy foods will get you reward points with your health plan, your doctor or your employer.
  6. 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.
  7. Caregivers will scan QR codes to receive information and videos for caring for their loved one at home.
  8. 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.
  9. Scanning the QR code on food or cleaning products will let you know if they contain anything that you are allergic to.
  10. At health fairs, attendees will scan QR codes for more information on health topics and your facility and services.
  11. 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.
  12. Urgent Care facilities and Emergency Rooms will have QR codes for instant access to wait times.
  13. 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.
  14. 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!
  15. 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.
  16. 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!)
  17. Patients taking home holter monitors and CPAPs will be able to scan the QR code on the machine to get a “how-to” video on using it.
  18. 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.
  19. Temporary tatoo QR codes will identify those patients who won’t wear identifying bracelets, have dementia, or tend to wander away.
  20. Hospital patients will scan the menu broadcast on their TV to order their daily meals.
  21. 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!)
  22. 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.

Posted in: Innovation, Learn This: Technology Answers, Social Media

Leave a Comment (16) ↓


  1. The Medical Quack September 12, 2010

    Thank you for the kind words the other day too on the Medical Quack. On the bar codes, I have had a campaign going since October last year and you can vote on it too. I chose Microsoft Tags due to the content I am suggesting with FDA recalls and a few other matters. QR codes can easily be used too for general information purposes.


    Here’s how they can authenticate an MD for writing an eprescription for controlled substances.


    You can also connect to your Google Health or HealthVault PHR too and this in time will make it easy for consumers to use their phone, point and aim and add information to their personal health record.


    Good post on the QR codes and there will be uses for both of them in a very short time, it’s just a matter of getting use to using them! They work great and give me a vote on the Quack if you like.


  2. Jeff Yaniga September 13, 2010

    Great article. In addition to a QR code for OTC medications, how about a QR code on a actual prescription that will allow the recipient to scan for lower cost alternatives that are therapeutically equivalent or find the pharmacy geographically closest to them that offers this drug for the lowest cost based on their health plan?

    Thinking out loud, but what if the QR code on a prescription also triggered an app that reminded you when to take this medicine. (Persistence and compliance?)

    • Mary Pat Whaley September 13, 2010

      Hi Jeff,

      You are definitely taking the concept to its ultimate destination! Great!

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  3. Mary Pat Whaley April 11, 2011

    Hi David,

    Yes, you may repost the article, but please use my name and provide a link to my site.

    Thanks for asking!

    Best wishes,

    Mary Pat

  4. janice rumdoss August 3, 2011

    Very creative uses of qr code in healthcare. THe Japanese have gone ahead of the rest of the world in this field. See here some great examples: http://bit.ly/n1xtX6

    • Mary Pat Whaley August 4, 2011

      Hi Janice,

      I think QR codes are a fascinating way to bring people/customers/patients to your doorstep. Thanks to the Japanese for their innovation!

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  5. Asif September 25, 2011

    Informative article on QR codes. We are using QR codes reader to scan patients prescription info and storing it on the owner’s smart phone. We would like to know whether the stored prescription need to be secured (to comply with HIPAA)?

    • Mary Pat Whaley September 25, 2011

      Hi Asif,

      If you have the patient’s request to put their prescription info on their phone, then HIPAA does not come into play. It is only when you release a patient’s information to a third-party without the patient’s approval that the potential for a HIPAA breach exists. As long as the patient takes responsibility for the care of their own information on their own smartphone and does not claim that you did not warn them about the potential for a breach, you should be fine. You might want to add some language to your NPP that refers to this process.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  6. Paul February 26, 2013

    When I first saw a QR the immediate and obvious idea was that this could enable blind and partially sighted people inckluding many older people to have accessible details about their prescriptions, most containers and the details of use have very tiny print but if this could be scanned the print could be enlarged or read on a mobile phone

    • Mary Pat Whaley February 26, 2013

      Hi Paul,

      This is a terrific idea! I love it.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat