Of course, you always wash your hands in between patients, but what about your mobile device? It’s along for the ride picking up potentially infectious organisms as you move from one appointment to the next. And, with as many as 60% of healthcare professionals now using smartphones and tablets during patient care, it’s more important than ever that your ASC makes device cleaning as important as hand washing.
Thanks to new research from the Nursing Research Council (NRC), your ASC doesn’t have to guess about what methods are most effective for decontaminating the mobile devices used by the healthcare professionals at your facility.
The NRC studied the effectiveness of using 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes for 15 seconds of friction as the best disinfection technique. They chose the wipes for their cost effectiveness as well as their accessibility for healthcare staff.
To test the effectiveness, the NRC recruited 50 night shift healthcare professionals. At the end of their shift, each participant’s mobile device was swabbed using Hygiena UltraSnap Swabs and SystemSURE Plus adenosine triphosphate (ATP) monitoring. They categorized a device as having bacterial contamination based on its preclean bioburden. The mean preclean bioburden for devices in the study was 106.8 relative light units (RLUs), which indicates bacterial contamination.
After being cleaned with 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes for 15 seconds of friction, the bioburden dropped to 49.98 RLUs, putting them within the clean range. Prior to the study, only half of the participants said they had cleaned their mobile device within the 12 hours preceding their shift.
Sadly, as many as 10% of patients get sick due to healthcare-related infections. These infections are responsible for 99,000 deaths per year and an estimated $20 billion in healthcare costs.
To help eliminate mobile devices as a source of contamination at your facility, here are three smart things your ASC can do:
1. Hang Posters: We all need to be reminded from time to time. Strategically place posters that encourage device cleaning in your break rooms, staff bathrooms and other common areas to keep device cleaning top of mind for your ASC staff.
2. Create Wipes Stations: Place 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes in convenient locations where staff can quickly and easily access them.
3. Routine Tablet Checks: Randomly swab the tablets your healthcare professionals use for patient appointments to see if the bioburden falls within the contamination range. Report the results, both positive and negative, to staff as an incentive to keep decontamination at bay.To learn more about mobile device decontamination and the NRC’s study, read the study.