Usage of QR codes for faster hospital registrations

29 Jan 2023

Blog by Samriddhi Manral, Young Professional, National Health Authority, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

A major roadblock towards achieving Universal Health Coverage is accessibility to quality healthcare. Ailing patients availing health services at Out Patient Department (OPD) of large health facility have to wait in long queues for their turn to visit a doctor. The waiting time ranges from about a couple of hours and extends up to the whole day. Sometimes, even after waiting for the entire day, the patient is called on the subsequent day to visit the doctor. The chances of cross infection also increase to multiple folds in case of communicable diseases in the crowded OPD halls. The long duration of time required for manual data entry of patient’s basic demographic information like name, age, gender, address, etc. is the major reason for queues at the OPD registration. The chaos with added noise and hustle during the rush hours of OPD registration makes it difficult for the data entry operator at the counter to add the details efficiently in the HMIS system, hence, compromising quality of the data. Furthermore, most of the hospitals remain short of staff, and one data operator has to cater to hundreds of patients which increases chances of errors in the entry.  These problems of long queues and data errors can be addressed if we transfer the demographic data digitally. The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) implemented by National Health Authority (NHA) makes this possible.

About Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM)

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) is a flagship mission of Government of India, nationally rolled out on 27th September 2021 with a budget of Rs. 1,600 crores for 5 years. It envisions to use digital goods in increasing the availability, accessibility, and equity of health care while using its different building blocks to establish a national digital health ecosystem that is effective, accessible, inclusive, inexpensive, timely, and safe. This ecosystem will offer a wide range of data, information, and infrastructure services while utilizing open, interoperable, standards-based digital platforms and maintaining security. Through digital highways, ABDM will bridge the existing gap among different stakeholders of healthcare ecosystem.

One of the essential components of ABDM is the Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) Number. It is a 14-digit random number that acts as a unique identifier, used for authenticating the information and linking health records with the consent of the patient. ABHA follows a citizen-centric approach to enables interaction with participating healthcare providers and allows the patient to receive digital lab reports, prescriptions, and diagnosis seamlessly from verified healthcare professionals and health service providers.

Scan and Share-Sharing digital information through QR code scanning

Digital payments through UPI (Unified Payment Interface) have taught us how scanning a QR code could enable transfer of financial information securely. According to a recent National Payment Cooperation of India (NPCI) report, paying for groceries, shopping in supermarkets, recharging phone bills, eating in food in restaurants and shopping online, were among the top five transacting categories on UPI. The UPI transactions volume crossed 12.5 lakh crore milestone in December 2022.

Drawing inspiration from the success of UPI transactions, the Scan and Share feature of ABDM allows the patients to scan a hospital specific QR code to get themselves quickly registered in healthcare facilities. The patients while scanning the QR code can share their demographic information (ABHA profile) directly with the hospitals and thus, avoid long queues for OPD registration.


There are numerous benefits of the scan and share feature. For patients, the waiting time is remarkably reduced and it removes the chaos of the rush hours at the OPD registration and thus, enhances patient satisfaction. The healthcare facilities can efficiently manage the patient flows, get accurate patient details, uniquely identify every patient as well as effectively manage the human resources required for registration, security, queue management etc. The patients are also introduced to the concept of handling their health digitally as the patients become the owner of their own health records.

How does it work?

The process is simple and user friendly. The patients scan the QR code present at the hospital premise with their mobile phone (using phone camera/ABHA App/Aarogya Setu/or any other ABDM enabled App). As a one-time activity, the patients then generate their ABHA number (if they do not already have one) and finally share their profile details with the facility. Once the profile is shared, the hospital provides a token number or a queue number. For the ease of patients, the token generated is sent as a notification to the patient’s selected app and is also displayed on the screens placed at the counters. the patient can go to the registration counter, as per their token number, and directly collect their outpatient slip (OPD Slip) for doctor consultation as their details are already present at the registration counter. This saves time and effort for manual data entry and makes the whole process faster, accurate and efficient.

Inclusivity for non-smart phone users

Citizens without a smartphone can also avail this service. The patient can go to any ABDM enabled facility, if he already has an existing ABHA card, he can get the card scanned at the OPD counter and then get them registered. The citizens who do not already have an ABHA card can generate it in the health facility itself. ABHA can be generated at the health facility in assisted mode with the help of ABDM volunteers deployed at ABDM enabled hospitals without any cos t.

Progress so far

Since the pilot in Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi in October 2022, this functionality has served more than two lakh patients in India with thousands of patients using it every day. The maximum number of QR code-based registrations has happened in the state of Karnataka followed by Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The ABDM public dashboard also provides a state-wise record of the facilities generating the token each day. Public dashboard of ABDM can be assessed at

An overview of ABDM dashboard for scan and share feature

Involvement of Private players

This functionality provides a great opportunity to the private players to contribute to the shared responsibility of “Health for all”. Several private players, including startups, have developed their mobile phone applications providing a range of health care services to the patients. Presently, leading applications like Driefcase, Ekacare, Paytm, Bajaj Health etc. are having their mobile applications enabled with ABDM and providing various services.

Way Forward

In the journey of creating digital highways, India has witnessed success of various applications especially post COVID-19 pandemic. Aarogya Setu, used for live tracing of COVID-19 positive patient as well as CoWIN for booking vaccination slots are a few such example. ABHA, a building block of ABDM, also has the ability to bring about a change in the digital infrastructure of the country.  With more than 31 crore ABHA generated, and 10 crore health records linked, the ABDM ecosystem is beginning to scale. Since, majority of the population is young in India; digital awareness is on a rise over the years. India has just started its digital journey and novel innovations like QR based faster hospital registration is a step forward in the process towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.

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