I need help!

James Gray

October 31 2018

QR QR codes medical diabetes

Well I don't need help right now, but I may at any time and actually have needed help in some awkward and potentially dangerous situations. Why? I am a Type 1 Diabetic and as such, I am constantly guarding against hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If you haven't seen one, severe hypoglycemic attacks can be pretty scary. They can take the form of seizures, losing consciousness, severe sweating, and drastic personality changes. One time, while warming up for a college swim meet, I blacked out mid-lap and happened to be the only person left in the pool area. Had the opposing team's coach not walked onto the pool deck at just the right time and jumped in to pull me out, I don't think I'd be writing this today. As it was, paramedics were called, gave me a glucose shot and I was up and about in no time. Another time during college, I ran around my fraternity house like a crazed lunatic, eventually hiding myself in the walk-in freezer only to be coaxed out by a few of my brothers. They gave me something sweet to eat and that brought me back. More recently, I started convulsing uncontrollably in my own kitchen, nearly smashing my head on our granite countertops. Had a painter not been working in the house and been able to call my wife and then 911, who knows what would have happened. My wife told Joe, the painter, that I was diabetic and he gave me candy. I still remember Joe screaming at me in his heavily Irish accent, "What's wrong James?! What's wrong?!" and not being able to answer. It was probably in that instance that my more mature and adult self realized that as a husband and father, I needed to be a little more careful. To that point, I had been lucky because every time I had an issue, I was surrounded by people who knew about my diabetes or at least knew who I was and could contact my family and first responders when they saw I was in trouble. What would happen, I wondered, if I had a hypoglycemic attack, needed help, and could not answer important questions about myself? What would happen if I wasn't around people I knew or anyone at all? I am a runner who prefers to run by myself in the early morning hours, usually while it is still dark and I've had low blood sugar issues during my runs plenty of times. I have, for that matter, also been chased by big dogs and almost been hit by cars. What would I do if I had an issue of any type, 5 minutes let alone 5,000 miles from my house and was completely alone? With no identification the chances for proper medical care for someone like me (or anybody for that matter) diminishes quickly. The key in such situations is identification and information. So I started wearing an ID bracelet from a company named Road ID, 24/7. The bracelet displays my name, my medical condition, my wife's name and cell number, my home town and my home telephone number (which now that I type this, the home phone thing seems a bit archaic...) Anyway, the day I started wearing the ID bracelet (about 12 years ago), I actually felt more confident about going out on my runs, or just about being out in general, which is something I think a lot of people with potentially problematic chronic conditions struggle with, if even only on a subconscious level.

Sooooooo, what does this post have to do with QR Codes, NFC or Geolocation? Well, when I started working in this space, I reached out to RoadID and a few other companies in the market to see whether they had the capacity to print QR Codes. I'd noticed they'd started selling "badges" (add-on tags with text on them like "Diabetic," "26.2," etc.) and I thought a QR Code badge would be really cool. Medical personnel or anyone in a position to help could easily scan the code and be taken to additional, pertinent information that doesn't fit on the already small faceplate. Unfortunately, they were unable to print QR Codes (the technology just isn't there) so I'm now doing a little prototyping myself to prove out the concept. And so far, it is working. I simply created an Experience with the name and contact information of my doctors, listed the medications I am taking, and the devices I use to maintain my diabetes on our Tapple platform. I then printed a QR Code on paper and Scotch Taped it to my ID band. Not the slickest of implementations I'll admit, but I'll move on to something more sophisticated soon. For now though, I must say this is one of my favorite uses of a QR Code, I guess because it has a truly personal meaning.

The QR Code is about 1 inch x 1 inch and scans easily (may not scan through the image though)

On the content front, if you want people to scan a product with the end goal of them buying it, you'll want to deliver "selling" content. In the retail environment, we often suggest starting with a personal "Why we love it" statement which is a brief text statement that explains the best attributes about the product. Next, a 1 minute or less video of your best sales pitch draws the customer in and provides additional context about the product. Then, you can add more detailed information about the product, which is most often in text and images. These situations are also a perfect opportunity to capture customer information. Offer customers an "on the spot" discount for purchasing in exchange for their name and mobile number/email address or the like. Delivering this kind of specific, "deep page" content directly from the product can be a huge boon for sales and the reputation of your business. The same can be said for customer service. Think about a QR Code on the side of a product box that reads "Scan for Customer Service" and then delivering someone who has purchased your product directly to assembly instructions in video and text formats. In addition, you could provide links to contact customer service directly from their devices, ask them to take a quick survey about their experience with their product and maybe even offer videos of the product in use to help customers get the most benefit from the product. In both of these cases, the benefits to your brand of delivering consumers directly to what they are looking for, especially when they've identified their interest, are huge. You may increase sales measurably, but you will also increase the possibility of increasing the lifetime value of your customers because you deliver a more meaningful, enjoyable and frictionless experience than they can get elsewhere.