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A Hospital, A Barcode Scanner, & A Breek

What I Learned During My Visit to the Hospital

A few months back, my wife was having surgery, and of course I was with her in the hospital. (Don’t worry everyone, she is ok!). While she was in pre-op, and the nurses were talking to her about what all was going to happen, I noticed a machine with a barcode scanner attached to it. Well, me being the breek© (barcode geek) that I am, and much to the chagrin of my wife, I decided to ignore the nurses’ directions for post surgery, and inspect the barcode scanner. After all, it wasn’t me getting surgery; I was just there for moral support.


Healthcare scanners feature disinfectant-ready housing that is specifically designed to allow safe cleaning and sanitizing with the disinfectants most commonly used in hospitals. This means you can sanitize your barcode scanner without the worry of the disinfectant harming the housing or the scanning components.

What I found was very surprising. The setup was simple enough; a computer and monitor on a powered cart that is most likely used to read patients’ wristbands. The surprising part was the scanner that was being used; a very popular corded scanner made by Motorola. Now while this is a great scanner, I was surprised to find that this particular hospital was not using a barcode scanner that is specifically designed for the healthcare industry.

How could this be, I thought? Don’t they know that old saying, “there is a right tool for every job?” I mean, this is a brand new hospital with all of the latest equipment, and here they are using a scanner meant for just about everything except healthcare. Then it hit me! Maybe they don’t know. Healthcare specific scanners are relatively new. Perhaps they aren’t aware of the benefits or that they even exist at all. From that moment it is my job, no, my responsibility, my duty to inform the masses (readers of this blog) about healthcare scanners and their benefits.

Barcodes have been used in healthcare for many years, but only recently have scanner manufacturers taken notice. They have finally developed a scanner specific to the industry. It is now becoming more and more common to have a healthcare line. What started out as a niche product has now become a must, with all of the top manufacturers having at least one scanner, if not multiple scanners, designed just for healthcare.

What is the difference? What makes these scanners unique from any other scanner? They all scan the same barcodes right? Right! But the answer, my friends, is not in the ability to scan, but rather the material the scanner is made of. A scanner’s housing is made of plastic, which is great for durability, but not so great at standing up against chemicals that hospitals use to clean their equipment. Conundrum!

Hospitals need to scan barcodes, yet they also need an environment that is clean for the safety of their employees and patients. Enter the healthcare scanner. These scanners feature disinfectant-ready housing that is specifically designed to allow safe cleaning and sanitizing with the disinfectants most commonly used in hospitals. This provides both patients and their caregivers’ protection against dangerous illnesses. This means you can use your barcode scanner and keep it clean without the worry of the disinfectant harming the housing or the scanning components. See! There is a difference. Below are a few links to the most popular healthcare scanners:

Whew! I feel better. A weight has been lifted; my debt to society (readers of this blog) has been paid. No longer will scanner users be oblivious to healthcare scanners and their advantages. I did a good thing today, and it makes me want to do more. Something bigger this time I think. Well readers, it’s been fun! I am off to find the cure for the common cold…this could take me a little longer. Wish me luck.

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Kyle Gambrell

As a Product Manager at System ID, Kyle Gambrell wears many hats--a favorite being the dirty, old Texas Tech cap that he bought in 2003. He also wears the hat of scanner and mobile computer expert when pounding out colorful posts that both inform and entertain readers. A self-proclaimed dreamer, this busy pro lists sports, food, handstand contests, and time traveling as hobbies he enjoys outside of work. When asked what things he doesn’t like, Kyle freely admits a distain for socks and the pompatus of love.

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