3 Tips to Keep Tablets Safe in a Healthcare Setting – Part 2: Sanitizing

How do you keep tablets safe? How often are they stolen? How do you keep them clean and sanitized?

MC900438738Of all the questions we get asked, the one that comes up again and again is, how can you keep a mobile device protected in a healthcare setting? Concerns about theft and damage to tablets are usually first, followed by worries about keeping tablets sanitized to prevent the spread of germs. In a recent post, we shared five quick tips to help secure your devices in the waiting room or the exam room; today we’ll get to the issue of sanitizing tablets.

As a recent study by the University Health Network in Toronto showed, you probably have more reason to worry about the elevator buttons you press on the way to your office than a tablet that’s touched by a handful of people each day. Having said that, when you ask a patient to share their history or contact information on a touchscreen tablet, you run the risk of getting more than you asked for in the form of bacteria and germs.

Fortunately, preventing the spread of viruses and other bacteria on the tablet is easily addressed with some basic hygiene procedures, some of which you likely already have in place.

Here are three steps you can take to protect your staff and patients, and ensure your devices stay clean and sanitized.

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1. Ask patients to use hand sanitizer before using the tablet

This is by far the most important, and effective way to prevent the spread of germs, not only on the tablet, but on all surfaces in the office. By asking patients to use a hand sanitizer when they arrive, before using the tablet, you can effectively reduce the risk of spreading germs between patients while protecting clinic staff as well. It’s not a bad idea to suggest reapplying hand sanitizer after using the tablet as well, as a secondary precaution.

2. Use Disinfecting Wipes

A quick wipe of the screen with an alcohol-based disinfecting wipe has been shown to effectively reduce or even eliminate the transfer of germs . Recent tests completed at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital in South Carolina showed that a when a mobile device with a germ reading over 400 was cleaned with a disinfecting wipe, the resulting germ count (read using a luminometer) was just 4 (anything below 70 is considered an acceptable measurement in a healthcare setting).

3. Consider a UV Sanitizing Wand

UV Sanitizing Wands are now readily available at a very reasonable price. Using a UV wand in addition to wipes may eliminate germs from the nooks and crannies of a device that disinfecting wipes may miss. However, it’s important to be aware that studies have shown that on its own, a UV Sanitizing Wand may not sufficiently disinfect a tablet to prevent the spread of germs. While some manufacturers claim the wands can ‘safely kill 99.9 percent of targeted germs on surfaces within 10 seconds,’ the same study noted above found that the UV Wand alone reduced germ count from 432 to just over 400).

Go to Part 1 in this Series: Preventing Theft