A research team at Newcastle University in the UK has developed a Quick Response (QR) code to ensure timely web-based emergency support for patients suffering from Addison’s disease, a rare endocrine disorder.
The QR code can be embedded into bracelets or plastic cards that can be carried by the patients.
When scanned with a smartphone, the code redirects to the Addison’s Disease Information System (ADIS) which offers comprehensive clinical management advice specific to the individual patient.
It provides healthcare professionals with instant access to the critical information required for life-saving treatment, along with a letter from a medical consultant and advice on surgical preparation.
Newcastle University Institute of Cellular Medicine senior lecturer Dr Jolanta Weaver said: “Rare medical conditions are prone to poor management in non-specialist units as, by definition, their presentation is uncommon.
“Some healthcare professionals do not feel they have the appropriate knowledge or confidence to manage these cases and they may need more support from information systems such as ADIS.
“Our ADIS uses a web app running on a smart device, linked to a QR code. It is accessible at all times and shareable with healthcare professionals, patients, their carers, or when required in an emergency by bystanders.”
Addison’s disease is a chronic disorder and requires urgent care in cases of adrenal crisis, for which some of the healthcare professionals were found to lack handling experience.
QR codes are free and easily available via free web-based software, and the researchers hope that immediate access to clinical protocols will help in preventing unnecessary deaths.
Newcastle University computer scientist, physician and research associate Dr Andrew Colman said: “Many healthcare professionals lack the experience and knowledge of treating such rare conditions and the ADIS enables them to access life-saving information in a critical situation.”