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Are You Disinfecting Everything Brought into Hospital Rooms?

Follow these tips to clean your mobile device when exiting patient rooms

February 12, 2019

Environmental services (EVS) staff follow carefully created protocols for cleaning hospital restrooms, beds, and other high-touch surfaces in patient rooms. But are they taking as much care in cleaning any mobile devices they take with other surfaces?

In a poll conducted by Infection Control Today, 83 percent of survey respondents reported using their personal mobile devices within a hospital, however just 68 percent said they clean/decontaminate these devices regularly. Among the 57 percent of respondents who use a hospital-issued mobile technology device in the course of their workday, 56 percent report cleaning the device themselves

Numerous studies have found that cell phones and other mobile devices harbor germs. Although these devices are found everywhere and considered innocuous, like any item held up to one’s face, users should exercise caution as not to spread germs to themselves or others.

Manufacturers recommend using a damp cloth to clean phones and other devices, but they offer no specific instructions for electronics used in health care settings. Experts with the ECRI Institute, an independent, nonprofit organization focused on medical practices and patient safety, recommend that EVS staff and other hospital workers place their devices in a sealed plastic baggie if they must bring them into an isolation room. When they exit the room, they should open the bag and remove it from the device like peeling a pair of disposable gloves from their hands—flipping it inside out, balling it into the palm of their hand, then throwing it away. Next, they should remove their gloves, wipe the device down, and wash their hands.

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