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Kimberly-Clark enlists QR codes to mobilize patient safety cause-marketing campaign

Kimberly-Clark is launching a QR code-enabled patient safety education program with Safe Care Campaign to make it easy for hospital patients and their families to access potentially life-saving information.

The consumer packaged and healthcare goods company teamed up with Safe Care Campaign, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Patient Channel to develop posters featuring QR codes that link to videos about healthcare facilities? most common patient safety issues. The free posters are available to hospitals and other healthcare facilities to put up in patients rooms and in common areas.

?Smartphones are a fact of life in 2012 and hospitals know that and they are ok with it,? said Victoria Nahum, executive director of Safe Care Campaign, Mableton, GA.

?We want to make it as easy and accessible to the patients as we can who want this information,? she said.

Direct access
Nonprofit Safe Care Campaign conducted a survey last year that found only 12 percent hospitals have any sort of patient safety education program in place.

The low numbers are a result of the costs and resources required for such a program. By tying the patient education to QR codes, this enables hospitals to implement the program with minimal cost and resource requirements.

The Learn How to Be Safe While Receiving Medical Care poster delivers critical patient education information directly into the hands of patients and their caregivers.

The campaign seeks to address how medical errors and mistakes in how care is delivered not only costs hospitals billions of dollars but can also harm and even kill patients. By providing patients and caregivers with the right information, Kimberly-Clark and Safe Care Campaign hope to provide them with the tools to ask the questions of medical professionals that will help prevent patient safety issues.

The poster offers access via a QR code reader app or text message to nine educational videos. The topics covered include: insisting that caregivers wash their hands, preventing an infection when someone is having surgery, preventing a blood stream infection and preventing medication errors.

The posters inform patients and their caregivers how to download a QR code reader app. They then scan the QR code associated with the topic of their choice and are automatically presented with a brief educational video on the topic.

Patients who have a feature phone can text in the keyword SAFE to a short code to access the videos.

There is also a free companion iBook for patients designed to help them understand what they can do to prevent medial harm from occurring while in a healthcare facility. The book is available on the iPad and via desktop.

Since the program was launched at the end of February, several healthcare facilities have downloaded the posters including Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center.

?QR codes have been mainly seen in retail areas,? Ms. Nahum said. ?I think as time passes, we will find more and more uses for them.

?This is the first time I have seen them used in healthcare,? she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York