While at the Southern Oregon Health and Safety Conference, which by the way was excellent (thank you OR-OSHA!), I asked a local industrial hygienist whether he thought our health and safety resource webpage, CROETweb.com, was a useful resource. “Oh yes”, was the response (I am paraphrasing), “but I wish you had an app for my iPhone that allows me to bring CROETweb up directly. That way, I could access it quickly while in the field.”
I asked our resident web guru, Dan Austin, whether we could create such an application. His answer was that this could cost a lot of money, as in thousands of dollars. My first thought was to appeal to any of our tech savvy blog followers to donate some expertise, but that would be asking a lot (any takers?). Dan did say, however, that there may be another way to accomplish the same thing with an existing application, the QR code.
QR (quick response) codes are those square symbols you see in magazine ads, on consumer products, etc. that look like a miniature rat maze. With a QR reader app, downloaded free off the Internet (e.g. http://www.mobile-barcodes.com/qr-code-software/), anyone with an iPhone, Android, iPad or other camera-enabled mobile device can directly access webpages or other URLs that are encoded within the QR code. Moreover, you can also download a QR creator app free off the web as well (e.g. http://www.qrstuff.com/), so it is possible to create QR codes to instantly access any information you desire.
OK, so if you have a need to access information within CROETweb while in the field, here’s an idea you can try: 1) create QR codes for any frequently-used pages within CROETweb; 2) print out a copy of the QR codes. These can be small, just a couple of centimeters in size. 3) Affix the QR codes to, for instance, a clipboard that you carry in the field; and, 4) access any of your favorite CROETweb pages instantly in the field when the need arises.
If you choose to try this, please send us a note telling us how this works for you. And speaking of CROETweb, stay tuned for major design changes to improve your use of the site coming in December.
Fred Berman, CROET Toxicology Information Center Director