Market research is a valuable tool to support the concept of ideas or products.
My first step in market research was a casual conversation with friends. I explained the concept to them and listened to their candid reactions to the idea. Everyone I talked to thought it was a good idea and most said it was something that they needed or would want. The feed back was positive and encouraging. However I thought of this product as a can without the can-opener. I still believed this was a very useful idea that had the potential to save lives but if there was no support in the field then the QR code would be useless to the public. In order for the data book to be of value EMT, paramedics, ER personnel and physicians would have to support it. I then decided to expand my research to the professional field.
Since the QR Data Books primary purpose is to provide medical information in the field I felt it was important to gather feed-back from the EMTs. I first approached the local Fire Department because they would oversee the EMTs stationed at the Fire Houses.Unfortunately the administrator I spoke to informed me that they do not do scanning in the field and they do not supply EMTs with smart phones. She could not see where their department would be involved in the usage of a QR code. I was discouraged because if the emergency personnel were not informed about the QR Data Book and how to scan it for information then there would be little need for anyone to carry a Data Book. I thought about it for a few days and then decided that not all administrative staffs have an open mind about new technology and that I should pursue my research directly with EMT personnel.
I approached my local fire department and spoke with one of the EMTs. He recognized the QR code image but said that you would need a smart phone to scan that for information and that he did not carry a smart phone. He did agree to look over the product and give me some suggestions.I was glad he did recognize the code and that he was willing to give me suggestions but I was still a little discouraged that he did not have a smart phone. Up to now I had assumed it would be normal operating procedure for all EMTs to carry a smart phone. He gave me a form that was required of all EMTs to fill out when providing emergency services. Most of the information I had already incorporated in the book. Based on the county document and his suggestion I changed the heading Primary Medical Issue to Medical History. The EMT also suggested that they would want to know the person’s name so that they could make sure the person was carrying their book and not another family member’s book. As our conversation continued another EMT came in he was younger and he mentioned that the training he was taking now encouraged all of he EMTs to use a smart phone in the field to retrieve medical information. Now that was encouraging that in the very near future all EMTs would have a smart phone as a normal operating tool in the field. Also encouraging was that both EMTs felt that it would be a very useful tool. They explained that having all of the information with immediate access would be extremely useful. What they liked especially about the QR Data Book was that they would not need internet access to attain the information. This would be particularly useful when they were in areas that did not even get cell phone signals.
Feeling very encourage from this feed-back I approached a local Paramedic company. Again I was given suggestion on what information should be included in the book and was told that they had begun to supply smart-phones to their paramedic. I had begun to see the “can opener” materializing. I know that this is not very extensive or complete research but I felt that is was enough to motivate my process and I believe from this research that the QR Data book was being developed at the right time.
The next step would be to develop a web site and begin to test some SEO.
I knew that the QR Code could store a large amount of data in a small space.
I wanted this database to include prescriptions, allergies, emergency contact, blood type, physician’s contact and primary medical history.
My first attempt was made to include all of this information in one QR Code. I was able to create the code but soon found that the QR Readers that are available are limited to reading about five lines of codes. Most users of QR Codes will primarily use the code to direct the scanner to a URL which is a small amount of information is easily read by QR Readers. However my intent was to get around the need to have an internet connection and instead use the code as an imbedded database. The only way around this would be to break the information down into smaller chunks and categorize the information under medical headings. Unfortunately this would also mean that the product I was creating could not be a credit card size form. I was thinking the limitation of data reading was derailing the whole project until I discovered the Avery label 5302 which is a tent card. It is still the size of a credit card but because it folds there is the potential for a four sided card or eight if I use two tent cards attached as a book. There is still the convenience of a small form but the added bonus of multiple pages to hold multiple categories of health information. By breaking some of the large informational categories into multiple codes, such as prescriptions I could have two pages of medicine data holding up to 10 prescriptions. If there is need for more prescriptions I could reduce the size of the QR Code image and include up to three images on each of the two pages giving me the potential to hold up to thirty prescriptions in one book. The added bonus of the Avery Tent Card is that the sheet contains enough space to print two copies of one person’s card. I was concerned before that if I used business card stock I would end up wasting material of one sheet to print one person’ card. Now I can offer a duplicate card to the user and not waste the material of left over blank cards.
The project was beginning to come together. I had the form. I knew that it was now possible for anyone to carry their personal medical data with them at any time. “Your data when you need it.”, became the QR Data Book slogan.
With slogan and logo developed my next step would be to attain feed back through market research.
My father in-law asked me one day if I could think of a way that he could have immediate easy access to his medical information. His present solution was to carry a 8 x 10 piece of paper with him when he visits his physician. The paper included his medication, allergies, past medical history and physician information. You see he has several doctors not just a primary physician and each of the physician prescribe medication for what ever diagnostic they specialize in and each doctor did not keep track of what the other physicians prescribed. However when ever he visited these different doctors the first question they would ask him is what medication he was taking. It was difficult for him to remember all of the medication and dosages so he developed this one page document to show his physicians.
The issue for him was that the paper because of size was not convenient for him and he only carried it when he knew he had an appointment. What he wanted was a more convenient form that he could carried all of the time and one that could be used if he was ever in an emergency situation and was not capable of communicating his history.
The first solution that came to me because of my experience with database development and PHP would be to develop a web base database to store his information and then give his physician access upon request. However because of my understanding of (1)HIPAA regulation I accepted that a web base database system may be flawed. I felt that if access could be given to the medical information it would be possible for it to be hacked by anyone who just liked to hack into web sites. Also the web based system may not be accessible in situations especially in remote areas where emergencies may occur. The solution called for a way to carry the information in a convenient form that would be accessible without an internet connection and that it maintain some degree of privacy.
I told him I would give it some thought and see if I could develop a solution for him.
In the process of developing this project I needed a way to capture the website images. I thought I would be able to do this simply by using the “Print Screen Button” and pasting from the clipboard into the Word document. However there were some screen that I did not want to include the entire page and I decided to download a tool that will allow me to capture part of the screen.
I needed to download a tool to capture the images for illustrating this project. I have used CNET for most of my downloads because over the years I have not had any problems with their downloads. The downloads are reviewed and this gives you a good indication if others have had problems with the applications.
I found a Screen Capture application that was free. It is ScreenCapture. It is easy to use because of the very simple interface which consist of two buttons 1. Capture Area 2. Capture Screen. The program floats on top of the page and if you click on the Capture Screen button the application goes away for a few seconds and then reappears. It looks like nothing has been done but as the application did it’s disappearance act it copied the screen to the clipboard. All I had to do then was go into the Word Document and paste the image into my page. The Capture image works similar as the application disappears but this time it is replaced with a cross hair cursor which will allow you to select the portion of the screen you want to capture.
As soon as you have drawn your area by clicking and dragging then release the button you have the portion captured to the clipboard.
If you want to save the image to a folder instead of the clipboard you can use the browse button to select a folder for saving the images.