Hospitals need to step up cellphone cleaning protocol, study finds

A study out of the University Hospital of Saint-Etienne in France shows mobile devices used by hospital workers harbor viral RNA, and a large chunk of healthcare workers don't wash their hands before or after using their mobile devices.

Researchers sampled cellphones and hospital cordless phones used by 114 healthcare workers and published their findings in Clinical Microbiology and Infection.

According to Select Science's coverage of the study, viral RNA was found on 38.5 percent of the devices, the most common finding being rotavirus RNA. They found respiratory syncytial virus on three phones.

The researchers also surveyed the healthcare workers regarding when they used their devices. Surprisingly, though 64 percent of them used the phones during patient care, 20 percent admitted to never doing hand hygiene procedures before or after using their phone, even though they knew the phones could have pathogens on them.

One of the study authors told Select Science the study should "encourage hospital to step up hand hygiene protocols and to institute better protocols for cleaning and disinfecting both mobile phones and hospital phones."

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