Infection Control Today

FEB 2019

ICT delivers to infection preventionists & their colleagues in the operating room, sterile processing/central sterile, environmental services & materials management, timely & relevant news, trends & information impacting the profession & the industry

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31 January/February 2019 ICT S tudies have indicated the contamination levels of devices such as mobile phones and tablets and observed that these potential reservoirs for microorganisms are not being cleaned and disinfected as they should be to prevent cross-transmission from the device to healthcare workers' hands, and fnally, to the patient. A casual online poll of ICT readers shows that 83 percent of survey respondents use their personal mobile technology devices within the hospital, and just 68 percent said they clean/decontaminate these devices regularly. Fifty-seven percent of respondents indicated they use a hospital-issued mobile technology device in the course of their workday; 56 percent report cleaning the device themselves, while 7 percent let someone else clean the device. A lack of formal recommendations requires healthcare institutions to evaluate the issue and formulate strategies to address it. Manning, et al. (2013) emphasize that "It is imperative that infection prevention and control programs be actively engaged in providing healthcare worker (HCW) guidance and education in how to mitigate the risk of bacterial contamination of their mobile health devices (MHDs). Programs also have an important role in working together with healthcare providers to establish and implement organizational MHD policies and procedures." As Manning, et al. (2013) explain further, "Whereas there is no evidence of a direct link between environ- mental pathogens on small portable electronic devices and the rate of HAIs, cross contamination among patients may occur via the hands of HCWs after they have touched contaminated devices. Multiple investigators have shown that HCW mobile devices provide a known reservoir of pathogenic bacteria, with the potential to undermine infection control efforts aimed at reducing bacterial cross contamination. This potential could be amplifed further as HCWs begin to carry additional personal electronic devices such as MHDs without concurrently providing appropriate protocols on decontamination, especially at the point of acute care. This is an important concern given the mounting descriptive evidence of the rapid adoption of MHDs in the healthcare arena. If the trend Contaminated Mobile Technology: Making it Part of Your Institution's Cleaning and Disinfection Program continues, MHDs could quickly surpass the use of mobile phones and PDAs." To better understand the threats and opportunities associated with mobile technology devices in the healthcare environment, ICT spoke with James Davis, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, HEM, CIC, FAPIC, senior infection prevention and patient safety analyst/consultant with ECRI Institute, and Amanda Sivek, PhD, senior project engineer, also with ECRI Institute. ICT: What's your feel for the level of cleaning and disinfection of contaminated mobile technology in hospitals? James Davis: At ECRI Institute, not only do we conduct research on site but we perform consultations with hospitals and our own members, so we do get out in the feld. Variability exists in terms of how well people are cleaning and disinfecting these devices. Essentially, it's all about identifying the process that fts your insti- tution — did you identify the shared equipment? Have you identifed the process of who owns it so there is no confusion when it comes time to move that equipment, either from patient to patient or when the equipment is no longer needed, like a ventilator? Who's going to clean it? And then how do you identify that equipment as being clean? For example, some facilities, when they assign a ventilator to a room, they assign the cleaning and decontamination of it to the respiratory staff because who knows that equipment better? Some facilities put a clean bag over that equipment and store it in the clean utility room until it is needed again. That process could vary depending on the complexity of the equipment; you can take it down to as simple as a blood pressure cuff that's moving around on a med/surg foor between patients if they don't have disposable cuffs. In that case, the nurse or nursing assistant would be responsible for cleaning and disinfecting it between patients. Policy will vary by equipment type but also how the equipment is used, who "owns" it. Amanda Sivek: It's important that staff have appropriate workfow, including time considerations, for proper cleaning and disinfection. For instance, nursing assistants frequently go in and out of patients' By Kelly M. Pyrek Ò Variability exists in terms of how well people are cleaning and disinfecting these devices. — James Davis, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, HEM, CIC, FAPIC feature

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