Embracing Technology to Improve Patient Outcomes

BACKGROUND Healthcare is readily embracing any technology to improve patient outcomes, streamline operations and lower costs. This technology includes the use of mobile applications like Smartphones. Smart scanning and the use of Quick Response (QR) codes are all the rage. You may have noticed these intricately patterned squares appearing in more and more places but did not know their purpose. QR codes provide an opportunity to embed a variety of information, much like traditional bar codes used in grocery stores.

But, unlike these codes, QR codes contain URLs (Uniform Resource Locators or web addresses) within them that instantly connect anyone who scans the code. All one needs is a smartphone, tablet scanner environment, special applications/software, and a reader to hyperlink to a site and obtain information. Readers are free and easy to download from an app store or the Web. Some smartphones come with this capability.

In health care today, QR codes are used in a variety of ways, e.g., a woman can schedule a mammogram by reading a QR code that provides a link to a web site. QR codes can direct patients to online libraries for information and educational videos. Other convenient functions include accessing some components of electronic health records (EHRs). SCENARIO Emergency workers in Marin County, California are using the technology involving QR codes to save lives in emergency situations.

A company, Lifesquare, has partnered with two emergency response agencies in the county to conduct a year-long pilot program. Lifesquare wants residents to input personal information about their medications into its website and then place corresponding QR code stickers where emergency workers can find and scan them in the case of an emergency. These stickers are available from a local pharmacy.

Elsewhere, another company, ID Amber, has a Security Code printed on a tag which can be scanned readily. And yet another company, ScanMedQR.com, manufactures silicon bracelets, cards for wallets and necklaces that have QR codes on them that provide quick access to health records. Let’s assume that your neighbors (many elderly) have heard of the pilot study but they have some concerns with, and are somewhat skeptical about, this “new-fangled technology.” They have asked you for more information about the technology including the advantages and disadvantages of participating in such a pilot project or obtaining the tags used by other companies.

You conduct a review of this technology by reading sources on the Internet and in the current literature. You discover there are several health care organizations using this technology in various ways. You have read their marketing information for additional insight. Basically, your neighbors are looking to you for knowledge so they can answer the question: We Can But Should We? DIRECTIONS 1. You are to research, compose and type a scholarly paper based on the scenario described above. Reflect on what you have learned in this class to date about technology,privacy concerns and ethical issues.

Do not limit your review of the literature to nursing only. Other health professionals are using the technology and you may need to apply critical thinking skills to its applications in this scenario. 2. Use Microsoft Word and APA formatting. Consult your copy of the Publication manual of the APA, 6th edition, as well as the resources in Doc Sharing if you have questions, e.g., margin size, font type and size (point), use of third person, and so forth. Take advantage of the essay writing service Smarthinking, which is accessed by clicking on the link called the Tutor Source, found under the Course Home tab. 3. The length of the paper should be 3-4 pages, excluding the title page and the reference page. Limit the references to a few key sources. 4. The paper will contain an Introduction that catches the attention of the reader with interesting facts and supporting sources of evidence, which should be included as in-text citations.

The Body should present the advantages and disadvantages regarding the use of QR codes. The Conclusion and Recommendations should summarize your findings and state your position regarding whether your neighbors should participate in a pilot project. Make your case based on the evidence you have collected.

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