How should hospitals disinfect bedside electronics?

Increasingly, clinicians and patients alike are using handheld electronics, like cell phones or tablets, at the bedside. These frequently touched objects can harbor germs, and use of typical disinfecting methods could damage the electronics. So how can hospitals make sure these useful tools don't spread disease?

A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control examined the use of UV light to disinfect these electronics. Researchers studied eight bacterial species, including Clostridium difficile and Escherichia coli. They used a handheld UV-C-emitting light, and found even just a few seconds of irradiation led to a significant reduction of the bacterial load on the surface of the electronics.

"It seems that application of UV-C light with a handheld device may be a reasonable alternative for disinfecting plain surfaces that cannot be safely disinfected using standard chemicals in daily routine practice," the researchers concluded, though they noted further investigation into the reliability, safety and cost-effectiveness of the practice is necessary.

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