News of coronavirus continues to dominate headlines. The virus that started in Wuhan, the capitol of Hubei province in China, has sickened about 83,000 and sadly, taken the lives of more than 2,800 people around the world. It’s wreaked havoc on stock markets, brought local economies to grinding halts and resulted in the cancellation of major events.
If your hospital is implementing tablets in place of paper forms, you may be wondering if you should push pause on your plans. After all, those devices will come in contact with thousands of hands – and germs – each day.
We’re reposting this January blog to help you pick a tablet case that protects from what’s seen – cracks, chips and dings – and prevents the spread of what’s unseen – bacteria, germs and viruses.
When it comes to picking a case to protect the tablets in your hospital, there’s more to it than meets the eye. You want to protect your devices from what can be seen – cracked screens, scratches and other damage from drops and repeated use.
But it’s even more important to protect your tablets from what’s unseen: germs. This is especially timely with headlines about the coronavirus dominating the news. The medical community believes one way this virus likely spreads is through contact on contaminated surfaces – like a tablet.
Healthcare associated infections, or HAIs, happen when a patient is in the hospital for one condition and contracts an infection during their stay. They’re caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses stemming from among other things, health care settings that aren’t properly cleaned and disinfected.
HAIs can even lead to the loss of life. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control said there were approximately 687,000 HAIs in U.S. hospitals in 2015. Of these, about 72,000 patients died during their hospitalizations.
RELATED: UV technology is proven to reduce the rate of infections and can help your hospital combat HAIs.
A hospital that leverages tablets to capture patient electronic signatures at Registration or the bedside is making a smart move. After all, they’re minimizing costs, waste, the risks that come with lost paper forms, and they’re improving the patient experience.
But whether it’s a small or large hospital, in an urban or rural area, hospitals must take steps to prevent tablets from becoming vehicles for spreading germs and causing HAIs.
There are many rugged tablet cases on the market that do a great job of protecting devices. But it’s critical that hospitals prioritize infection control – over durability – as the top criteria for case selection. Tablet cases with a certified ISO 22196 antimicrobial medical grade should be selected. This certification indicates the ability of a plastic surface – in this instance, a device case – to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
In chapter six of this Access eBook, we share pros and cons of the InnverVision Tough-PAC, a tablet case that meets the ISO 22196 standard. The hard-shell case uses Biomaster silver ion technology during manufacturing, to inhibit or destroy bacteria growth by more than 99.6 percent for the life of the case. In that same eBook chapter, we also give an overview of the FutureNova FlipPad, which has an antimicrobial glass screen.
With the help of a medical grade case that meets antimicrobial standards, your hospital can continue on its path to paperless forms with confidence.
One more tip: Watch out for what looks like a helpful tablet case feature but is really just a germ superhighway.
An early case picked by Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colo., had a Velcro strap on the back. At first glance, the Velcro strap was an easy way for clinicians to hold the device, especially when getting bedside consents. But as their clinicians soon found out, it was difficult to keep the strap sanitized. The hospital switched to a plastic case – with a plastic handle on the back – that could easily be wiped clean.
Remember, when picking a tablet case for patient electronic forms, the prevention of HAIs is paramount. Protect devices from what’s seen and unseen with antimicrobial cases that can withstand frequent disinfection or that meet international quality standards.