Benefits of using QR codes and a survey tool to track resident attendance

Residency Program Insider, May 10, 2019

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Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Residency Program Alert. For more information about this book, click here.

Brandon Hamm, MD, MS, consultation liaison psychiatry fellow, and Sharon Ezzo, MS, C-TAGME, coordinator for the adult psychiatry residency program at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, implemented an innovative, technology-based system for tracking resident attendance at didactic lectures.

By coupling QR codes and a survey tool to track resident attendance, residency coordinators and residents have seen many benefits:

  • Makes residents accountable. This system places the responsibility for sign-in on the residents, says Hamm. With the paper-based system, residents would say that they couldn’t find the sign-in sheet, or the resident signing people in forgot to add them, or they forgot to sign the sheet. With the electronic system, each person is responsible for their sign-in, eliminating many reasons for recorded absences. Additionally, because the survey system generates a timestamp upon sign-in, residents are now more apt to show up on time for conferences, Hamm says.
  • Eliminates handoffs. “The academic chief was responsible for bringing the sheets to me,” Ezzo explains. “Sometimes sheets would be misplaced or lost. Now, everything happens in real-time and online, and we don’t have to keep track of the paper.”
  • Increases accuracy and transparency of attendance reporting. Attendance reports are much more accurate without paper sheets that someone can lose. Moreover, residents are not relying on anyone but themselves to sign in.
  • Electronic attendance data is also easier to view and share. “Instead of it just being the coordinator and chief resident policing the data, the program director can look at it easily too,” Hamm says.
  • No added cost. You can implement this solution for free. There are plenty of free QR code generators and QR code scanners available online. You can also use a free program to generate the sign-in form that residents complete. “It was very important that the solution would have no cost to the program, and we came up with something that really works,” Ezzo says.


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