Tag Archives: email campaigns

Using QR Codes to Improve Patient Compliance

Patient compliance isn't always as easy as taking a pill.  The more ways you can reinforce care compliance with your patients, the better off you both will be.
Patient compliance isn’t always as easy as taking a pill. The more ways you can reinforce care compliance with your patients, the better off you both will be.

We all know the drill.  “Bob” gets sent home from the doctor’s office or the hospital with a list of prescriptions and care instructions to manage their condition.  The condition among “Bobs” may vary, but one thing remains the same with patients across the country — convincing them to comply with their care regimen is an ongoing challenge for both the clinician and for you as their supply/equipment provider.

Reinforcement is key to patient compliance, meaning you have to keep reminding people to follow directions, follow their care plan and follow up with their monthly orders.  No easy task, I agree.

The good news is, a simple technology known as a “QR code” can help you drive those messages home to your customers on a daily basis.  QR codes are one of the most interesting technology advances of late, due to their ease of use and the many ways you can apply them to share information with consumers.

What is a QR code?

QR codes aren’t new. I’m sure you’ve already seen them on the pages of mainstream magazines.  The QR stands for “Quick Response”. 

Try it! Scan this QSR code above to see a video about a discreet new intermittent catheter for men.
Try it! Scan this QSR code above to see a video about a discreet new intermittent catheter for men.

Quick Response Codes are a type of barcode that were first designed in Japan for the automotive industry.  These codes became popular in the mainstream because they can store more information than the standard barcodes you see on grocery products or other boxed goods.

Today, QR codes have become commonplace in consumer advertising and packaging, because the popularity of smartphones “has put a barcode reader in everyone’s pocket for the first time.” [Source]

With their rising popularity and increasing use, QR codes can be a key component of your e-marketing strategy without adding significant costs to your budget.  {i.e. Free is Good!}

I first heard about them four years ago from a good friend who works in the outdoors sports industry! About the same time that he and I discussed ways US retailers were beginning to use these square icons to promote sporting goods, I also saw an article about a giant QR code on display in the middle of London.

A major British entertainment company had taken out a 100-foot-tall billboard with nothing but a QR code on it, sparking the curiosity of Londoners who weren’t quite sure exactly what that odd-looking box meant.  See a video explaining the billboard and QR codes here. The message held within the mysterious black box was simple — it was advertising a movie titled 28 Weeks Later: “It’s back on DVD – September 10th.”

Around the same time, the craze for QR codes kicked off across Europe. Not surprisingly, as QR codes became popular in Europe prior to making their way across the Atlantic, European medical device manufacturers were the first in our industry to include them on the sides of product packaging.

Who is mostly likely to respond to a QR code?

Aren't you glad you don't need a keyboard on your cell phone anymore?
Aren’t you glad you don’t need a keyboard on your cell phone anymore?

According to eMarketer,  116 million cell phone owners in the US are currently browsing the internet using their mobile device. By 2016, eMarketer predicts that number will rise to a whopping 192 million people.

Smartphones have come a long way in advancing users’ accessibility to online applications. Nowadays, it’s almost a competition among friends to share the latest apps and sites they use via their phones.

Just for giggles – here’s a look at some of the worst cell phones ever designed.  Did you ever own one of these??

Bottom Line: As more people of all ages are perusing the internet via their cell phone, the response rate to QR codes is only going to increase.  Keep in mind too, if you are utilizing text messaging and email campaigns to drive customer reorders and other communication, you’ve already created a mobile audience for your business or product-specific QR codes.

How can a health care provider use QR codes to improve patient compliance?

You probably already have examples of QR codes on packages in your inventory.  Many medical device manufacturers are now including them in their literature as well as instructions for use.  Have you thought about adding QR codes to your:

  • Catalog
  • Sample bags
  • In-Store displays
  • Promotional items for referral sources
  • The backside of your sales reps’ business cards

When you place QR codes on these materials, you can have them link viewers to all kinds of information, including:

  • Product instructions for use
  • Landing pages for prospective clients or referral sources
  • Downloadable PDFs like customized prescription forms
  • Product demos or special offers
  • Videos, videos and more videos

You’ve convinced me.  How do I begin?

This is the best part: You can create QR codes for free, in less than 30 seconds. Here’s a list of web sites that give you free tools to create your own QR codes.  Many offer free apps that you can download to scan QR codes too.

When using a QR generator tool, you simply drop in the URL that you want to have the code point to and save the picture that is created to your art files.  Then you can place that black square artwork into your email template, brochure layout or product packaging design.

1. Kaywa As the first western QR company, Kaywa has offered a free QR code generator on its site since 2006.

2. Quickqr: Quikqr allows you to quickly make free QR codes. Once you have generated your code you can save it, print it, email it, share it with your friends. Quikqr is 100% free and you don’t need to sign in.

3. BeQRious:  This site lets you generate many types of QR codes, including URL, Email address, Phone number, Text, Contact information, SMS, YouTube, Services, Graphical (to put an image into your QR code for a URL), and Google Maps.

4. BeeTagg: This QR Generator supports the following information types – URL, RSS feed, Contacts, YouTube and eBay.  Plus, with BeeTagg, you can shorten your long URL with the BeeTagg Optimize Size option, and generate other types of scan codes as well.

Need a hand with your first QR code initiative?
Give us a shout, we’re glad to help!

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Meet Emma: She Knows Email

Most everyone knows about Constant Contact, a do-it-yourself email solution that has become ubiquitous among small businesses.

But I’ve always shied away from the catch-all solutions and sought out others that personalize the customer experience.  Emma is one of those options for email marketers.

And how could you not like an email program named Emma? She sounds sweet, right?

Not only that, but she’s pretty open and honest about what she’s able to do.  Here’s a list of Five things you should know about Emma.

Emma’s approach seems to be working. According to her web site, she’s “currently supporting the email marketing efforts of roughly 40,000 businesses, nonprofits and agencies doing all sorts of interesting things in all sorts of interesting places, assuming Belgium makes your list of interesting places, and why wouldn’t it?”  She’s headquartered in Nashville, and staffed by all kinds of young, hip e-savvy marketers.

Last year, Emma interviewed me for their 5 Questions blog.  This blog site aids e-marketers with helpful strategies and tactics to drive their online marketing success.  Emma asked me to participate because one of the e-newsletters that I had developed using their communications platform was receiving a much higher than average click thru rate by readers – nearly 40%.  [In healthcare, most Emma clients only see a 10-20% click thru rate.]

Emma offers all kinds of free templates to help you create a professional look and feel for your e-marketing campaigns.

Here’s one of the highlights from our interview:

Question: What’s your best advice to writing accessible, memorable emails?

Lisa Wells:

  • Write for your audience’s benefit – not yours or your company’s.
  • Illustrate points with pictures the audience will relate to and click on for details.
  • Use a personal tone – no one wants to read an email that sounds like you have a banana stuck in your tailpipe. Treat your customers like they’re your friends, but not in terms of slang or being overly familiar. Do use layman’s terms, and answer questions or problems they may have.
  • Link, link, link and link some more. The more direct access you provide to customer relational touch points, the better.

Read the full interview here.

If you’re a non-profit, you may want to apply for the Emma 25 Initiative. Each year, the annual Emma 25 initiative awards free Emma service to help small, deserving nonprofits do more to reach their donors and supporters with email marketing. Charitable causes from around the world apply, and they select 25 to honor with a lifetime of free Emma service.  Non-Profits — Apply here.

Need a hand with your e-marketing initiatives? 
Give me a shout.  I’m glad to help.