A novel use of QR code stickers after orthopaedic cast application

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION

We present a novel solution to ensure that information and contact details are always available to patients while in cast. An information sticker containing both telephone numbers and a Quick Response (QR) code is applied to the cast. When scanned with a smartphone, the QR code loads the plaster team's webpage. This contains information and videos about cast care, complications and enhancing recovery.

METHODS

A sticker was designed and applied to all synthetic casts fitted in our fracture clinic. On cast removal, patients completed a questionnaire about the sticker. A total of 101 patients were surveyed between November 2015 and February 2016. The questionnaire comprised ten binary choice questions.

RESULTS

The vast majority (97%) of patients had the sticker still on their cast when they returned to clinic for cast removal. Eighty-four per cent of all patients felt reassured by the presence of the QR code sticker. Nine per cent used the contact details on the cast to seek advice. Over half (56%) had a smartphone and a third (33%) of these scanned the QR code. Of those who scanned the code, 95% found the information useful.

CONCLUSIONS

This study indicates that use of a QR code reassures patients and is an effective tool in the proactive management of potential cast problems. The QR code sticker is now applied to all casts across our trust. In line with NHS England's Five Year Forward View calling for enhanced use of smartphone technology, our trust is continuing to expand its portfolio of patient information accessible via QR codes. Other branches of medicine may benefit from incorporating QR codes as portals to access such information.

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