Monday, September 17, 2012

Thoughts on QR codes at Medical Conferences

I am just back from Med 2.0. It was a great conference that did so many things right. One of the things that was right, was that every talk, every poster, every rapid fire session has its own web page. Here is what the top of those pages look like:

The square in the upper right, if you'r are not familiar, is a QR-code. All posters are supposed to use this label and all presentations are supposed to display this graphic on the title slide. When you scan the code with a smart phone (you can find an excellent free, QR-scanner for the iPhone here, life hacker endorsement of said scanner here), the smart phone will open up the web page for the talk or poster. Cool idea. Unfortunately, it was poorly executed by most presenters. Here is a typical title slide:

Using my iPhone from my seat in the middle of the auditorium, I had no chance of getting an accurate scan. Since I am one of those annoying conference participants who photographs every slide, I have found myself scanning my MacBook screen to get the links. Absurd, and really no easier than using the conference website to search for the presentation page. The right way to do it is the way John Ainsworth did it in his presentation on using Drupal to create a low tech, no software, SMS-notification system across 11 countries, 6 languages and 3 time zones:

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