Quick Response codes for surgical safety: A prospective pilot study

Jennifer L. Dixon, William Roy Smythe, Lara S. Momsen, Daniel Jupiter, Harry T. Papaconstantinou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical safety programs have been shown to reduce patient harm; however, there is variable compliance. The purpose of this study is to determine if innovative technology such as Quick Response (QR) codes can facilitate surgical safety initiatives. Methods: We prospectively evaluated the use of QR codes during the surgical time-out for 40 operations. Feasibility and accuracy were assessed. Perceptions of the current time-out process and the QR code application were evaluated through surveys using a 5-point Likert scale and binomial yes or no questions. Results: At baseline (n = 53), survey results from the surgical team agreed or strongly agreed that the current time-out process was efficient (64%), easy to use (77%), and provided clear information (89%). However, 65% of surgeons felt that process improvements were needed. Thirty-seven of 40 (92.5%) QR codes scanned successfully, of which 100% were accurate. Three scan failures resulted from excessive curvature or wrinkling of the QR code label on the body. Follow-up survey results (n = 33) showed that the surgical team agreed or strongly agreed that the QR program was clearer (70%), easier to use (57%), and more accurate (84%). Seventy-four percent preferred the QR system to the current time-out process. Conclusions: QR codes accurately transmit patient information during the time-out procedure and are preferred to the current process by surgical team members. The novel application of this technology may improve compliance, accuracy, and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-163
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Health services
  • Innovation
  • Outcomes
  • Patient safety
  • Quick Response codes
  • Surgical safety checklist
  • Technology
  • Time-out

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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