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As hospitals continue to increase investments in technology, they expand the amount of equipment they need, which raises the possibility of cross-contamination. Studies show that hospital keyboards in particular are infectious hazard points that are difficult to disinfect. Bacteria can grow and live on keyboards for up to 24 hours, making it easy to spread harmful bacterial infections. One way to prevent the spreading of harmful bacterial is to wipe down keyboards with an approved hospital cleaning agent before leaving the computer station.
With a normal keyboard, it is difficult to prevent bacteria from spreading underneath and between keys. The only way to make sure they are truly germ free is to take them to a sink and wash/disinfect them. Unfortunately, many times keyboards are being used in extremely hectic environments such as operating rooms (ORs). The doctors and nurses don’t have the time to unplug the keyboard, take it to a sink, run water and bleach through it, dry it off and then take it back to the station. They may, as a result, spray the keyboards down quickly with the hope of preventing cross-contamination.
Both of these problems can be prevented using a fully-sealed keyboard. iKey partnered with healthcare professionals to design the SlimKey-MD, a fully-sealed, easy to disinfect keyboard that improves compliance with infection control principles and practices. The SlimKey-MD keypads feature sealed, low-profile surfaces that are fast and easy to clean. Additionally, the units are engineered to be extremely compact, making them an excellent space saving solution. Since iKey’s keyboards are completely waterproof, they are able to be disinfected without ever unplugging them from the computer. Their silicone rubber keypads have no cracks or crevices where harmful bacteria can grow.
A study conducted at Ball State University tested iKey’s SlimKey-MD keyboards for bacterial growth. A number of contaminates, ranging from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to hepatitis C and E. coli, were applied to the keyboards. The keyboards were then disinfected with normal hospital cleaning agents. In the study, a 10 percent bleach solution was applied with a cotton swab and allowed to sit for 10 minutes. The results showed that, once wiped, the bleach had removed all bacteria from the keyboards. Dr. Richard Bellaver of Ball State University noted, “This testing discloses that iKey devices are easily decontaminated with readily available commercial disinfectants. Additionally, iKey equipment is very rugged and is well-suited for use in the medical community.”
While iKey’s SlimKey-MD keyboards provide a solution in the fight to prevent cross-contamination, it is important that all cleaning procedures are taken into account. The following are recommended cleaning procedures for iKey’s keyboards:
The Basics of Disinfection
Recommended for Disinfection
Although iKey’s medical keyboards can help prevent cross-contamination, the best way to reduce the spread of bacteria is handwashing. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers can easily contaminate patients while doing the simplest tasks like taking their blood pressure or pulse, or even assisting in moving the patient. MRSA and other harmful bacteria live and grow almost anywhere; therefore, washing hands promptly and thoroughly between patients and after contact with blood, secretions, body fluids, excretions and equipment is an important component of infection control.
How to wash your hands properly:
Proper hand hygiene is critical in the prevention of cross-contamination. Failure to do so can result in infection of patients, prolonged hospital stays, and a consumption of hospital resources. Studies have shown that if every doctor, nurse, and healthcare worker washed their hands between every patient, the rate of hospital infections would decrease dramatically. Diligent hand-washing paired with the use of iKey’s fully-sealed Slim-Key-MD keyboard can help keep harmful infections at bay.