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QR Codes Help in Prescribing Medications

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QR codes have surely come a long way from being just a way to easily and conveniently track auto parts to become one of the most widely used marketing tool it is today.

It has also proven very useful in the healthcare industry, where it has been used to store medical records for emergency response purposes.

A new application for QR codes in health care has been proposed by medical researchers in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Researchers at the Marshfield Clinic biomedical informatics research center are looking for a way to use QR codes to help in the prescription of medication to patients.

How does it work? The project would encode a small part of patient’s DNA information behind the QR code. These genetic information would include around 400 genes that affect how a patient’s body would react to chemicals and medicine. These QR codes would then be printed on the patient’s health insurance card.

If you are concerned about your privacy, or afraid that someone might take the information to clone you? Do not fret 400 genes accounts for less than 2% of around 23,000 genes in your body. But that information is enough for a doctor to decode and decide on the best treatment for you. It will also help doctors determine the optimum dosage for you. Think of it as getting eyeglasses that is tailor fit to what you need.

In short, the information behind the QR codes would allow doctors to give you a more precise and personal treatment plan.

No, Not Yet.

Is this going to be available soon? It might, but right now, it is too costly to be viable. Dr. Simon Lin, the research center’s director, adds that the first Human Genome Project costs billions of dollars. Plus you have to consider that mapping out a single person’s genome would result in a tremendous amount of information that would require more than 400 DVDs to store. But that trend is set to decrease. Lin explains that they think that the process could become simple, routine and inexpensive in five years.

The next time you see a QR code, you might want to stop thinking solely about marketing. Instead, think about pharmacogenomics, or the study of how your genes affect your body’s response to drugs.

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