Using QR Code Technology to Reduce Self-Administered Medication Errors

  • Scott E. McIntyre (Contributor)
  • Johanna Svensk (Contributor)



Background:Data indicate there are tens of thousands of self-administered medication errors each year in the United States alone.Objective:The aim of this study was to determine whether information embedded in Quick Response (QR) codes could reduce self-administered medication errors compared to current medication labeling among older and younger age groups.Methods:Two population samples (Arizona State University undergraduates and senior citizens over 70; n = 55) were recruited for participation. Participants were randomly assigned to 2 groups: one with access to QR code-based information (graphic and text) and a second group with only bottle label information. Participants were allowed 30 minutes to answer 17 scenario-based questions about administering their medications.Results:Statistically significant main effects of more correct answers when using QR code than current bottle labeling, F 1, 51 = 181.57, P < .001, η2 = 0.78, and for younger adults compared to older, F 1, 51 = 24.4, P < .001, η2 = 0.33.Conclusion:The study supports the use of QR code technology to increase patient safety of self-administered medications in both older and younger age groups. Future research is needed to address the technological and usability aspects of implementation (eg, phone app, voice, graphic, and text presentation).
Date made availableJan 1 2019
Publisherfigshare SAGE Publications

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