Research for infection protection

Risks of infection emanating from mobile communication devices in clinical settings

Mobile communication devices are increasingly used in various areas of healthcare delivery. Smartphones, near-patient hi-tech monitors or tablet computers used for patient files may improve the efficiency of nursing activities. However, latest scientific studies show that the digitisation of the clinical environment involves the risk of pathogen transmission.

Pathogen transmission via mobile devices

If devices are touched in the proximity of patients, pathogens may be transmitted. 98 % of healthcare providers use a mobile phone during work; almost half (45 %) of them are colonised with microorganisms. 15 % of these microorganisms are Gram-negative pathogens. With more than 90 %, mobile phone use is also very common among patients. As many as 84 % of the mobile phones used by patients test positive for microbial contamination. Approximately 12 % of the devices grow bacteria that are known to elicit nosocomial infections.

Decontamination measures can prevent the transmission of nosocomial pathogens. Experts recommend making disinfection of mobile communication devices standard practice – a conclusion that has not yet become accepted among users. Although smartphones, for instance, are used intensively in the clinical setting, clear guidelines on how and how often to disinfect the devices are still missing. One barrier to compliance is the worry that disinfectants may damage the sensitive surfaces.

Gently disinfect sensitive surfaces

Wipes saturated with alcohol are considered an effective and gentle method for decolonising sensitive surfaces. There are new pre-soaked disposable wipes that come with a special, low-alcohol formulation. A study confirms: they are suitable for rapid disinfection of alcohol-sensitive surfaces of mobile electronic devices without causing any damage. Even sensitive medical devices (e.g. stethoscopes) and examination couches can be disinfected gently.

Here, you will find products for disinfecting sensitive surfaces.

Summaries of scientific studies on this topic you will under “SCIENCE”.