Open Source & QR Codes in Healthcare

QR Codes have been around for a while, but are just now really starting to take hold in healthcare. This is just one more short blog about this technology and its potential uses.

Quick Response (QR) Codes are now used for a wide range of purposes by most industries.QR Codes are currently being used for inventory and tracking purposes, marketing, advertising, product labeling, as a form of electronic business card, and much more. New, innovative ways to use the codes are continually being discovered. Here are some quick factoids about QR Codes:

  • QR codes are best understood as a form of enhanced form of bar code that can hold much more information than the simple 'old fashioned' bar code.
  • QR codes can be read from any angle, while barcodes must be aligned properly.
  • QR codes are tailor-made for quickly and easily linking to content on smartphones.
  • QR codes can be used to trigger actions like launching a website, downloading a file, or triggering apps.
  • QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota that invented them in Japan back in the mid-1990's.

Free and/or Open Source QR Code Software Solutions

There are a number of free QR Code Generator web sites and QR Code Reader software tools available. The following are just a few selected examples:

QR Codes in Healthcare

QR Codes are already being used a number of ways in the field of health care. For example, they are being used on:

  • Staff ID badges at healthcare facilities
  • Patient wristbands and charts to link to their electronic health records (EHR)
  • Patient prescriptions to see instructions & Rx info
  • Advertising & marketing materials
  • Healthcare facility newsletters
  • Patient education handouts & materials
  • Business & clinic appointment cards
  • Hospital inspection certificates & materials
  • Medical product packaging for tracking & inventory purposes
  • Bracelets or cards for patients with emergency information, e.g. allergies, etc.

There are many other ways QR Codes can be used in healthcare that will emerge in the coming months and years.

Conclusion & Recommendations

It appears that 2011 was the year of the QR Code. The use of the QR Code increased by 6 times in 2011 and is expected to continue to increase as the use of smartphones continues to proliferate. If you haven't started using them, the time has come for you to get onboard.  See 

Tell us about any new, innovative ways you are using QR Codes in your medical practice or healthcare facility.


The following are links to some short videos on QR Codes that you might want to view: