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News

Smartphone equipment a risk for hospital infections

Spectralink : 10 December, 2013  (Technical Article)
Study shows that medical staff carrying smartphone equipment should have them subjected to the same hygiene standards as other medical equipment
Smartphone equipment a risk for hospital infections


Doctors’ smartphones have been identified as a new source of potentially fatal hospital infections, including MRSA, according to a team of medical researchers in the Netherlands. In five of eight hospital studies smartphones were found to be carrying antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as the hospital “superbug” MRSA. In vulnerable patients MRSA can lead to life-threatening infections, such as blood poisoning or endocarditis. The research showed that of 989 smartphones tested, between 42 per cent and 95 per cent were found to be infected with nosocomial or healthcare-related bacteria.



In response to this news, Simon Watson, Director at Spectralink, the specialist in in-building wireless communications for the healthcare environment, commented:



“If consumer smartphones are used in a professional healthcare environment they must be held to the same high standards of hygiene as any other medical equipment. This means having disease control procedures in place and ensuring that the devices can stand up to chemical cleansers. Most consumer grade smartphones are simply not designed with disease control or hygiene in mind and are clearly putting already vulnerable patients at further risk. It’s clear that mobile devices are a huge enabler for constantly moving workers like doctors and nurses. However health authorities need to put serious thought into the risks that use of the wrong devices and procedures could entail. This is an avoidable risk which should have been picked-up far earlier: surely everyone is already aware of the need for thorough cleansing of phone handsets and keypads these days?”


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