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Jefferson Nursing Researchers Propose Leveraging QR Codes in Patient Resources


(PHILADELPHIA) -- Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University’s School of Nursing recently published an article in the Journal of Nursing Education describing a doctoral-level practicum experience for nursing students that focused on the creation of patient resource guides using QR codes.

“The interactive potential of QR codes makes them an ideal method for portable, individualized patient education and resource identification,” said Jennifer Bellot, Ph.D., RN, MHSA, CNE, Associate Professor and Director of the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program at Jefferson’s School of Nursing.  “We believe that the potential for QR codes as a dynamic and clinically significant technology is strong and will be an important tool in the provision of individualized patient care.”

Dr. Bellot and her co-authors point out that QR codes provide a unique opportunity for patient education by linking directly to trusted content rather than requiring the patient to type in URLs or search online. QR codes have the ability to link directly to a webpage, regularly-updated pharmaceutical specifications, videos, or call a phone number directly. For those patients with limited tactile or visual abilities, scanning a QR code may be easier than typing in small text.

The study showed that doctoral students, who were also practicing clinicians, found QR Codes easy to use and were highly likely to use QR Code technology in the future. Eighty-three percent agreed that QR codes would be beneficial to patients in both clinical and community settings.

The authors acknowledge that QR codes do have some limitations, such as its dependency on a mobile device equipped with a camera. Although becoming more prevalent, access to smart phone or tablet technology is likely to be limited in the most vulnerable populations.

Future research will aim to complete end user and patient outcomes training using a QR enhanced resource guide in the clinical setting.

This project was supported with protected time by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars Program, and the iPad 2 devices were purchased through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration grant. The authors appreciate the innovation, diligence, and willingness of Thomas Jefferson University’s DNP students to be open to new learning experiences.

The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

Article Reference: Bellot, J, Shaffer K, Wang M. “Use of Quick Response Coding to Create Interactive Patient and Provider Resources.” Journal of Nursing Education; April 2015 Volume 54 · Issue 4: 224-227. Posted online April 1, 2015. DOI: 10.3928/01484834-20150318-07.


About Jefferson — Health is all we do.

Thomas Jefferson University, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals and Jefferson University Physicians are partners in providing the highest-quality, compassionate clinical care for patients, educating the health professionals of tomorrow, and discovering new treatments and therapies that will define the future of healthcare. Thomas Jefferson University enrolls more than 3,600 future physicians, scientists and healthcare professionals in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC); Jefferson Schools of Health Professions, Nursing, Pharmacy, Population Health; and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and is home of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. Jefferson University Physicians is a multi-specialty physician practice consisting of over 650 SKMC full-time faculty. Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals is the largest freestanding academic medical center in Philadelphia. Services are provided at five locations — Thomas Jefferson University Hospital  and Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience in Center City Philadelphia; Methodist Hospital in South Philadelphia; Jefferson at the Navy Yard; and Jefferson at Voorhees in South Jersey.