iPad could support “Handwriting Keyboard” – A requirement for medical point of care use in health care

Ever tried using your iPhone medical apps with gloves?  Doesn’t work too well.  Although, if you’ve got gloves on you probably shouldn’t be using your iPhone anyways.  The iPad is being touted by many, including us, as a device that could be used with patients at the point of care.  Translation:  Could be used in hospital rooms and procedure rooms that require you to be gloved up.

Since the iPad has a capacitive touch screen your gloves won’t work, and that plastic stylus from your old Palm PDA won’t work either.  There’s a solution to this, the Pogo Sketch, featured in the picture.

The Pogo Sketch becomes an extension of your fingers and works on a capacitive touch screen.  No longer making the iPad or your iPhone inoperable when you have gloves on.  But what if you have to type information on the iPad or the iPhone?  Since your gloved fingers won’t work, using a stylus to peck each letter on the pop up keyboard would be a huge ordeal.

To counter this, iPhone OS version 3.2, the operating system that will be running on the iPad, is rumored to have support for a “handwriting keyboard”, via Engadget.

….and, most interestingly, prototype support for a “handwriting keyboard.” Maybe we’ll see some stylus action on this thing after all.

The above revelation would be significant for the medical community, especially for health care providers who need the ability to write text efficiently with gloved hands or while standing up.  I can imagine myself using this capability to type short notes or even prescriptions for patients while in a standing position in the hospital room.  The alternative would be to use the external keyboard connected to the iPad, definitely more cumbersome, and this would require you to sit down and have desk space.  And as most know, desk space isn’t exactly present in a hospital room.

I’m assuming Apple will not reserve this type of functionality for just the iPad, and will bring it to the iPhone and iPod Touch devices as well.  If they want to make waves in healthcare IT, they would be wise to.