Tracking Medical Equipment Using QR Codes

3 min

The QR code is a type of two-dimensional barcode that contains the same information as traditional barcodes, in a smaller space. QR codes can be created using free services, such as, or with a paid service. Both options allow you to easily integrate this code with your existing electronic health record system. Once in place, QR codes can be used for tracking inventory in your office, link online resources and provide patients with their personal health records.

The Origins of QR Codes

Originally released in 1994, QR codes were developed by a subsidiary of Toyota, Denso Wave. Unlike the barcode, which holds data horizontally, QR codes also hold data vertically. Thanks to the two-dimensional design, QR codes are able to hold more information in a smaller space.

QR codes were used by the automaker originally to track the manufacturing process, their inventory, and shipping. There were a number of other Japanese tech companies and manufacturers in Europe that followed Toyota’s example. The U.S. adopted QR codes to help drive consumers to websites or to watch videos or commercials on their smartphones.

Creating a Tech-Savvy Medical Practice

QR codes have now reached the medical practice, helping to improve in-office care, get patients the information they need and engage them with the office. However, one of the most beneficial uses of these codes for the medical practice is that they allow doctors, nurses, and staff members to keep track of inventory easily and efficiently. Not only does this minimize practice losses, it also improves patient care since less time is spent on inventory tracking tasks.

Benefits of Tracking Medical Equipment with QR Codes

There are several ways equipment, inventory and other medical supplies need to be tracked, which include:

Ordering and delivery If a medical office notices they need to order a specific item, they can scan the QR code and have it ordered automatically.

  • Missing Items. Online tracking integration means if something is missing or stolen, you can access the audit history and see all the updates or changes for the items
  • Customer/patient ordering needs. If patients order certain types of equipment you can easily track when they order it, approve the order and have it shipped directly to them.
  • QR codes allow medical offices to streamline all aspects of the ordering/tracking equipment process.

Making QR a Part of Your Daily Routine

QR codes can make it easier to order, manage and track equipment in a medical office or hospital. Some of the equipment that QR codes can be used for include air ionizers, artificial limbs, CPAP devices, diabetic shoes, elevating toilet seat, hospital beds, nebulizer, patient lifts, respiratory assist devices and more. With this technology in use, doctors, nurses and other staff members can focus more on patient care, increase overall productivity and minimize losses due to lost, stolen or misplaced equipment.

Tracking 'Urgent Need' Medical Consumables

With the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), there's a sudden and urgent need for medical service providers to track and manage protective medical consumables. Organizations like:

  • Doctors offices
  • Emergency rooms
  • Nursing homes
  • Urgent care
  • Quarantine facilities

Need to procure and manage large quantities of low-cost medical consumables needed to protect staff and patients from contamination. While these items are typically low cost and available in large quantities there are now cases of overbuying and hoarding by consumers and other organizations rendering available supply shortages in some cases.

QR codes can be used to rapidly label and manage the quantity available and usage patterns for these items. A cloud-based solution like GoCodes can be rapidly deployed since there is no software to install or scanner hardware to purchase. The solution can scan both existing barcodes or QR codes based on the need. Staff and team members can simply download the app to scan and manage usage from any location. New orders can be planned by using low-quantity alerts based on thresholds set by the users of the software.

Specifically, QR codes can also be used to track urgently needed medical consumables like these in need during the 2020 Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic:

  • N95 face masks
  • Respirators
  • Eye protection
  • Gowns
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Surgical gloves
  • Hazmat and bio hazard suits

Once QR codes are implemented, you will be amazed at what they can do. In addition to tracking and managing equipment, they can be used for patient engagement, record sharing and more. There is no question QR codes are a definite part of medical practice efficiency and productivity.

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