If you ask the patients at your hospital to identify the most impactful workers in the building, you’ll probably hear some great feedback about your frontline staff – the doctors, nurses, surgeons, and specialists that are engaging with and caring for patients each day. The roles that get overlooked, however, might be the most crucial for ensuring the ongoing operation of your practice and the safety of everyone in it.
We’re talking about infection control professionals – a behind-the-scenes crew of dedicated people that audit, review, and recommend the best practices, procedures, and equipment that prevent and control infections within the hospital, limiting the possibility of a disease outbreak that could jeopardize everyone’s health and safety.
Certified Infection Control practitioners (CICs) typically have backgrounds in epidemiological research, public health, or the health sciences. They help to limit infections by providing education to staff, creating policies and procedures that prevent infection, auditing the hospital’s existing procedures for efficiency and compliance, and making purchasing recommendations for anti-infection equipment.
Anti-infection measures have traditionally focused on the patient-physician interaction and limiting the spread of germs in that context, however, the recent push for technological adoption in healthcare has CICs looking for opportunities to purchase anti-infection IT equipment that is safe for the industry. This article reviews the importance of the infection control practices in place at your hospital and highlights the best available options for anti-infection IT equipment.
Standard Infection Protection – Precautions Taken for Granted
Many routine practices at hospitals have been implemented out of the need to prevent the spread of infections between patients and healthcare providers. To understand the importance of infection control, think about how routine these procedures are at your hospital or private practice:
- Hand Washing – Hand washing is one of the most effective means of limiting the transmission of germs within the hospital. All healthcare providers are encouraged to wash their hands both before and after patient contact. Patients are often instructed to wash their hands upon arrival at the hospital, either with soap and water or a provided antibacterial soap.
- Gloves – Care providers are directed to wear gloves when touching patients’ body fluids, contaminated items, mucous membranes and non-intact skin. Latex or rubber gloves are effective at preventing the transmission of infection via skin-on-skin contact, but this practice must be combined with hand washing to be effective. In a clinical setting, all staff should watch their hands and put gloves on before coming into direct contact with patients. Hand washing should be repeated once gloves are removed.
- Masks, Eye Protection and Surgical Masks – These are all items that care providers wear during procedures that carry a possibility of generating blood splashes or sprays of other bodily fluids. Proper use and disposal of these personal protection items are an effective means of limiting the transfer of bacteria between patients and healthcare providers and throughout the hospital.
- Sterilization – Healthcare providers participate in the sterilization of medical equipment between uses with different patients. Proper manufacturing technique in the sterilization process is essential for limiting the spread of infection between patients. Proper technique requires that just 1 out of one million sterilized objects may still bear microorganisms – to ensure this standard, only objects that are free of visible dirt are sterilized. Sterilization can be achieved via many processes – the most commonly used methods are based on the action of heat (autoclaving, dry thermal, or wet thermal sterilization), gamma-ray irradiation, or on mechanical separation using filtration.
These infection control solutions have been instituted at virtually every hospital, clinic, ambulatory care center, medical office and private practice, exemplifying the universally recognized importance of infection-limiting practices throughout our healthcare system. However, the growing implementation of IT in healthcare is creating new opportunities for the spread of germs and bacteria, and now is the time for your facility to invest in anti-infection IT gear that is both safe and functional in the hospital environment. The following solutions address the growing need for IT infrastructure that is safe to operate as a part of an infection-controlled environment:
SealShield – A World Leader in Infection Control Technology
Seal Shield prevents infections and saves lives with products that address the need for safe technology in the medical environment. A study conducted by Dr. William Rutala from the University of North Carolina found that up to 25% of hospital keyboards tested positive for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a difficult-to-treat strain of this common bacterium.
Most keyboards cannot be disinfected regularly to prevent infection, but the medical mice and keyboards manufactured by Seal Shield are waterproof and can be wiped down or spray-cleaned without being unplugged or powered down. They can even be soaked in bleach or put through the dishwasher.
ReadyDock – Charge and Disinfect Your Mobile Device
Many hospitals permit doctors and nurses to bring their own mobile devices to work. A mobile phone is a high-touch surface that should be disinfected regularly to mitigate against the spread of infections. For this reason, many hospitals are beginning to prohibit their employees from using their mobile phones at work.
ReadyDock manufactures a chemical-free disinfection multi-bay docking station that allows healthcare professionals to simultaneously charge and disinfect their mobile devices and tablets in the workplace. ReadyDock can be kept in a communal area that is accessible to health care professionals – the five-tray docking station applies germicidal light consistently that can disinfect a mobile phone in under a minute.
Man & Machine – Fully Sealed Mice and Keyboards are Ideal for Medical Use
Man and Machine offers a popular infection-control product in its Really Cool Keyboard, which comes fully sealed and can be sprayed, wiped, sanitized, and even submerged for disinfection. Keyboards are a major accumulator of infectious bacteria in the medical environment, and the ability to sterilize them presents a significant means of mitigating bacterial infection.
KSI – Advanced Technology for Cross-Contamination Prevention
KSI is another leader in infection prevention and control, thanks to its San-A-Key technology that enables hospital administrators to set cleaning reminders for staff and monitor the cleanly state of KSI keyboards under their purview. Hospital staff can be sent push notifications when keyboards need cleaning, and KSI provides an on-screen guide that animates the cleaning process, ensuring that staff does a thorough job.
KSI’s patented “cleaning button” triggers an on-screen representation of the keyboard with the keys changing color from red to black as they are wiped clean by the user. KSI makes it easier than ever to ensure staff compliance and proper technique when preventing and controlling infection with medical grade keyboards.
Infection control is of paramount importance, not just to the patients that visit our hospitals and care facilities, but to the frontline staff that works in them. Healthcare providers and their patients need to be adequately protected from the risks associated with administering and receiving medical care, and that means adopting the most current anti-infection technologies that enable a high standard of patient care and are safe for the healthcare environment. Anti-microbial IT equipment is a crucial upgrade for any practice that’s serious about protecting its staff and patients.