Marshfield Clinic encourages the use of these barcodes among researchers.
The simple smartphone QR codes that are being seen on virtually everything these days are now working their way into medicine as researchers look into new ways for them to be utilized for medication prescription.
The idea is to one day provide people with a way to carry their personal DNA data with them.
This concept is quite preliminary, but it involves the knowledge that a small amount of the genetic information of a patient – around 400 genes from a total of about 23,000 (not quite 2 percent) – are linked to the way that individual’s body will react to pharmaceuticals. The idea is to have that data connected to unique QR codes that could be printed onto the health insurance cards of insured people.
This new use for QR codes is being pursued by researchers at the Marshfield Clinic.
They are led by the director of the biomedical informatics research center at the clinic, Dr. Simon Lin. According to Dr. Lin, using the mobile barcodes this way would make the genetic profile of a patient much more readily available to physicians, who could then make more informed decisions regarding treatments and drug prescriptions. It would also help the physician to make certain that he or she is capable of prescribing with greater accuracy regarding the necessary dosages.
A wealth of new information could become available to doctors who are treating new patients. Just as today’s doctors ask about any known drug allergies, Dr. Lin stated that “we believe the next question in the future is, ‘What is your genotype?’”
This practice could make QR codes highly important to pharmacogenomics.
That term refers to the study of how variations in a person’s genetic code will impact his or her response to different medications. It is one of the latest forms of research using the human genome mapping to shape the medicine of tomorrow. Dr. Lin explained that by pursuing this knowledge, medicine can become more precise and personal, as it will be designed to cater to an individual’s specific unique genetic information.
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