Electronics in Healthcare - Prevent Cross-Contamination!
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Electronics in Healthcare
Prevent Cross-Contamination!

 

 


 

Surface barriers when used correctly are an essential part of proper infection control protocol. The transfer of pathogens such as HIV, Hep-B and TB occurs from one person to another by four different means: direct contact, indirect contact, droplet infection, and airborne infection.

- Direct Contact
Occurs when pathogens are spread through physical contact between an infected person and a susceptible person.
- Indirect Contact
Occurs when there is no direct human-to-human contact. Pathogens are spread through contact with items that have been contaminated with a patient's microorganisms, such as surfaces and sharps.
- Droplet Infection
Occurs when microorganisms spread through large droplets that people sneeze, cough, drip, or exhale.
- Airborne Infection
Occurs when microorganisms spread through droplets that are smaller than 5 mm. They can remain in the air for a long period of time and can be inhaled.
 

Transfer of microorganisms allows for the possibility of disease transmission via contaminated surfaces. The survival times of these microorganisms on environmental surfaces varies widely.


 
 


     
 

Virus

 
 

Viabililty Time - Description

 




     
 

Hep B

 
 

Hepatitis B virus can live in dried blood for up to 1 week.

 


     
 

Hep C

 
 

The Hepatitis C virus can survive on environmental surfaces for 4 days.

 




     
 

Influenza A & B

 
 

Both influenza A and B viruses survived for 24-48 hours on hard, nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic.

 




     
 

Staph & MRSA

 
 

As with other germs, staph and MRSA can survive on some surfaces for hours, days or even months. It all depends on factors like temperature, humidity, the amount of germs present, and the type of surface. It also depends on whether these surfaces have nutrients to allow it to survive longer. When surfaces aren’t cleaned and conditions are good for bacterial growth, staph and MRSA are more likely to survive for longer periods.

 




 

The safest approach to turning over a room is to assume that all surfaces are compromised with potentially infectious materials and are harboring live microorganisms that must be removed or killed before the surface is used again in the treatment of the next patient.

To prevent cross-contamination and the potential for infection, DHCPs (Dental Healthcare Professionals) have two choices: surface disinfectants or barriers. In order to maintain proper infection control standards and minimize cross-contamination most offices use a combination of barriers and cleaning/disinfecting.

Barriers Often Overlooked

There are many types of barriers that can be used in dental and medical offices. Barriers such as chair covers, air/water syringe sleeves and tray sleeves are commonplace in examination rooms. However, there is one area specifically that is often overlooked: Electronics. Devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops are increasingly becoming part of most dental and healthcare offices. With the increase in use comes the increase in the risk for cross-contamination.

A 2005 study took swabs from 48 computer keyboards which were used by a wide variety of clinical staff, all of whom had direct patient contact. The study found that all 48 computers grew organisms of some kinds, 79% grew moderate or heavy numbers, 4% were colonized by bacterial pathogens (MRSA) and 96% harbored organisms which have the potential to cause healthcare associated infections.

Another study at a dental college found that 80% of computers were contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria. Coagulase-negative Staphylococci was found on 88% of keyboards, Diphtheroids on 80%, Micrococcus species on 40%, and Bacillus species on 60% of keyboards!

A very important finding in one of these studies was that these pathogens are sometimes able to survive up to TEN days in dried suspensions on the keyboard.

Clearly computer keyboards (and now tablets and laptops) are a source of cross contamination in hospital and dental settings. So now you’re asking: “What can I do?” Since the use of harsh chemicals on these sensitive electronics is not recommended, OSAP recommends the use of impervious barriers or plastic shields.

Surface Barriers to Protect Electronics

OSAP and most dental experts recommend that keyboards, mice, laptops and tablets be barrier protected and that these barriers be changed between patients. Whether you are looking for a tablet cover, keyboard cover, mouse cover, computer cover, basically most types of covers… (pardon the pun) but we’ve got you covered.

Take a look at some of the protective barriers Discount Disposables has to offer:

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Keyboard Covers
Keyboard Sleeves – Plastic bag that your keyboard slides into. Perfect for cordless keyboards and those with cords on the short end.

Keyboard Cover – Plastic sheet that drapes over the keyboard and tucks under for protection. Perfect for all keyboards and keyboards with a cord in the back.

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Mouse Covers
Rounded barriers designed to protect your wired or wireless mouse.

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Touchscreen Barrier Film
Touchscreen barrier protectors are a specially engineered, residue-free, touch sensitive film that's available in different sizes to be used with tablets and laptop screens.

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Monitor and Monitor + Keyboard Cover
Plastic sheet with monitor cuff that drapes over the monitor to protect from dust, sprays and possible cross contamination liabilities. Sizes available for just the monitor or for monitor and keyboard.

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Laptop Covers
Plastic sheet that drapes over the laptop to protect from dirt, dust, sprays and possible cross contamination liabilities.

 

Discount Disposables has a comprehensive line of surface and equipment barriers at discounted prices. If you are concerned about the environmental impact that can result from dental offices disposing of plastic barriers on a daily basis, we can help you find the best balance between necessary plastic infection control barriers and surface disinfectants.

Call to find out how we've helped others like you save on Infection Control Barriers! We provide FREE samples; simply call 800-366-0973 or email us at info@ddicp.net for requests and questions.