Handheld Asepsis

by Larry Emmott on May 22, 2018

in Hardware,Mobile,Tablet Computers

Computer hardware is crawling with germs!

The worst offenders in the techno germ category are handheld devices. We take them everywhere, are constantly touching them, pass them around to others, sneeze on them, sweat on them, and then we hold them against our face and mouth. Numerous studies have confirmed our handhelds are a prime source of nasty germs and disease transmission.

Patients are constantly pulling out their smart phones in the treatment rooms to check messages, tap in their next appointment then they hand it off to the dentist or the assistant to show us photos of their last vacation.

Increasingly we are handing iPads to patients to fill in forms, look at a radiograph or watch a patient education video.

The good news is that touch screens are a lot easier to clean than keypads but the bad news is that people are constantly touching them. There are four steps or options for cleaning and disinfecting your devices. However cleaning them can be tricky. You can’t just dip your Android in the cold sterile for five minutes. At least you can’t do it more than once. Manufacturers warn against using cleaners, aerosols, ammonia and abrasives on your device.

The simplest step is to simply wipe down the device with a moist microfiber cloth. This eliminates many forms of bacteria but not all.

The next level is to use an isopropyl alcohol wipe like Clens wipes from Bausch and Lomb. These are convenient but at around 75 cents each the cost can add up.

The third option is to make your own solution by mixing 70% isopropyl with distilled water. Using distilled water, higher concentration alcohol and avoiding things like fragrances makes for a cleaner solution with fewer chemicals or minerals left behind. Fill a spray bottle with the solution, moisten a lint free cloth (no paper tissues) and gently wipe the device. Do not spay the device directly. You can use small foam applicators to get into corners and crevices.

The fourth option is to use a sterilizer. Once again you can’t pop an iPhone into your Statum but there are ultraviolet systems designed for electronics. The Violife is just $65, it looks like a countertop coffee grinder and works with smart phones but is too small for tablets. You could even offer to sterilize patient’s phones as an added service while they are in the chair. That not only provides a benefit but it gets the phone out of their hands while they are being treated.

Another UV option is a sanitizing wand.  These inexpensive hand held devices are reported to kill up to 99.99% of germs and can be used for phones, tablets and even conventional mice and keyboards.

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