How to Reboot Posters? With QR Codes

Eric F. Glassy, MD, FCAP


My mission—to spread the good news of QR codes.

One of the first blogs on this site was my riff on Quick Response (QR) codes and social media. It was based on a talk I gave at the CAP Engaged Leadership Academy (which replaced the Spokesperson Training Program).

Well, I’m back with another proposal. Put QR codes on scientific posters.

Yes, I know some of you think QR codes are lame. But they do one thing incredibly well—create a quick link to a URL, allowing you to view a web page or download a file, without having to type a thing. That makes them amazingly useful on scientific posters.

How many times have you been to a pathology meeting and seen a really intriguing resident/fellow poster but could not capture the information for later reference? Some people take a quick snapshot of the poster, or jot down the reference, or take a printed copy when available.

But what if the poster had one of those small QR codes in a corner that linked to a PDF of the poster that you could download and read later. What a terrific use of QR codes, allowing you to capture a lot of great posters just by scanning them, one after another, as you walked up and down the aisles.

Let’s go one step further. Residents and fellows should consider putting QR codes that link to whole slide images on the poster photomicrographs. It would make the poster wonderfully interactive.

So residents and fellows, what do you think? Show us your scientific poster QR codes. Let’s make 2014 a breakout year for these little square blocks of social interaction. Come on CAP, USCAP, ASCP, etc.—let’s start a movement!

(Blog also submitted to