Socket Mobile just announced Bluetooth syncing support for their medical grade bar code scanner and the iPhone, iPod touch, and the iPad.  Barcodes are essential in the health care setting – they enable nurses to tag medications upon delivery – helping to avoid dosing errors, help hospital systems keep an accurate count of supply inventories, and provide a host of other uses.  If used properly, the potential uses of this pairing are significant.

For the pairing to work on the iPhone and iPod Touch, iOS 4.0, formerly known as iPhone OS 4, is required.  iOS 4.0 will be released on June 21st, right before the launch of the iPhone 4.  Continue on to see a video and pictures of the bar code scanner in action.  The fact the video uses the old X-Man cartoon theme song for its intro is absolutely hilarious and in itself worth the view.

Thoughts from the video:

*They are running iOS 4.0 on the iPhone already
*Again, the X-Men theme song is an hilarious touch
*In the video they have the scanner inputting codes into the notepad app- leading you to believe they are leaving software development up to outside developers.

Could this be utilized by a hospital for their electronic medical record system?

As mentioned before, barcodes are used in the hospital setting for meds extensively, but I don’t foresee this syncing capability being a game changer for EMR systems in the hospital.  Hospital EMR systems usually have the barcode scanner sync directly to their servers, it would be pointless to send the data to the iPhone first.

Potential Uses:

I could definitely see something like this being valuable in the mobile clinic setting or home health visits – where Wi-Fi might not be available – and the ability to tag medications given, and then use the iPhone’s 3G service to upload the data would prove to be a valuable tool.

Socket Mobile is not making this barcode reader exclusively for medical uses – but is offering an Antimicrobial enclosure version for those planning to use it in the healthcare setting.  It appears Socket Mobile is going to be leaning heavily on developers to produce the necessary software that will make the iPhone and iPad syncing useful – they are offering a special promotion for developers interested in purchasing the device:

iPhone / iPad / iPod touch Developer Special Promotion Socket is currently running a special iPhone / iPad / iPod touch software developer promotion on the Socket CHS 7X or 7XRx. Now through September 30, 2010 interested developers can purchase either barcode scanner at 20% off MSRP through the Socket Online Store. To take advantage of this offer, enter coupon code “ipad20” for the CHS 7X or “ipad20rx” for the antimicrobial CHS 7XRx upon checkout. This offer is only valid in the United States.

The following is a clipping from their PDF file on how the bluetooth Barcode reader would sync with the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

Socket Mobile Barcode Reader Product Page