Noora Salminen: The risk of infections in healthcare can be significantly reduced by choosing healthcare hardware

Nursing applications are increasingly used in applications such as smartphones and tablets. Laboratories are becoming mobile, and a mobile printer will accompany a nurse inside a hospital or in the future to people's homes. In mobile work, bacteria can easily move with the hardware.

Portable or desk-mounted tools often do not carry out any kind of casting operations, except for units with a high level of hygiene. Fortunately, most bacteria do not pose a risk. However, it has been researched that all hospitals carry bacteria that are classified as dangerous.

Nurses actively use, for example, Barcode Scanners and Smartphones. Cleaning is not done sufficiently thoroughly because no guidance has been given or it has been unclear, it is believed that the clean-up procedure can be overlooked without penalty.

Did you know,

Every year in the United States, about 1.7 million patients are exposed to infections. It is estimated that one third of these could be prevented by following the infection prevention guidelines. The use of mobile devices by healthcare workers has increased rapidly in recent years. While these devices have greatly improved the quality of the patient experience, they also have the potential to infect patients with harmful infectious organisms. Organisms pose a risk for the spread of micro organisms in healthcare facilities. Hospitals need to protect patients and staff in a critical manner so that they can establish robust infection prevention practices that include cleaning and disinfecting mobile devices used by healthcare workers.


Cleaning mobile devices involves manually removing visible dirt and biofilm by performing a cleaning operation with a dampened microfiber cloth. Microfiber cloths are powerful tools to prevent the spread of harmful micro organisms. Higher quality microfiber cloths are capable of removing large quantities of microbes, including spores that are difficult to remove. While the device is regularly cleaned by wiping with a damp microfibre cloth, several cleanings are required to remove dangerous and long-lived bacteria.


Disinfection is a process that eliminates many or all pathogenic micro organisms from the pre-cleaned surface. Disinfectants are used to kill micro organisms on surfaces. There are three levels of disinfection:

High-level disinfection: Kills all micro organisms except high levels of bacterial spores in food. This level of disinfection is required for devices that come in contact with sterile tissues or mucous membranes such as surgical instruments.

Moderate Disinfection: Kills most viruses and bacteria with a chemical bactericidal agent. They are used in hospital areas where patients, visitors and staff interact most often. Mid-range disinfectants include EPA-registered hospital disinfectants such as sodium hypochlorite (bleach). Bleaching or hydrogen peroxide based towels or sprays are generally effective.

Low-level disinfection: Kills some viruses and bacteria with a chemical registered as a hospital disinfectant. Usually used on surfaces that are less frequently touched than in patient areas.


Recommendations for healthcare workers who need to clean and disinfect their mobile device after each patient visit:

1. To disinfect the device, moisten a soft cloth with a cleaning agent or use a pre-moistened towel. Never apply liquid directly to the unit. Do not allow liquid to accumulate on the screen or other device.

2. Gently wipe all surfaces of the machine. Clean the keys and dry the screen immediately after cleaning with a soft, non-abrasive cloth.

3. Allow the appliance to dry before using it again. It is important to note that most disinfectants leave residues that build up over time on the surface of the device. At least once in turn, the device must be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol wipe to prevent accumulation.


1. Place a waterproof or waterproof cover on your mobile device. The use of shields is recommended for non-critical clinical contact surfaces, which are often touched with gloves during patient care.

2. Disinfect the mobile device before each interaction with the patient or family and then with a disinfectant approved by the facility for non-critical applications. Low-level disinfection is recommended for non-critical patients, treatment surfaces and equipment that come in contact with intact skin.

3. Follow a regular, standardized schedule for disinfecting your mobile device. The use of low-level disinfectants on a regular basis is recommended for non-critical patient care products.

4. Wash your hands before and after using your mobile device. In addition, it is recommended that hands be cleaned after contact with other objects in the immediate vicinity of the patient.


Optiscan provides you with more detailed information on Zebra's range of healthcare devices, the widest selection of healthcare-specific devices on the market. In addition, the devices are protected and prevent bacteria and dirt from adhering to the device structures. In addition, these devices can be disinfected without worry, without damaging the surface of the device or damaging the technology of the device.

By now, it is worthwhile for every hospital to think about the units that use eg. mobile devices, smartphones, or barcode scanners that move between patients while on care or in use. We recommend that, at least in units where patient infectious risks are high or nurses are constantly working on a patient, equipment designed for healthcare is implemented. This contributes significantly to patient safety.

Noora Salminen

More information: Noora Salminen (Healthcare Solutions) noora.salminen@optiscangroup.com, 040-670 8463.

Source: Darrel Hicks, Zebra Technologies (https://www.zebra.com/content/dam/zebra_new_ia/en-us/solutions-verticals/vertical-solutions/healthcare/white-paper/mobility-infection-prevention-best-practices-white-paper-en-us.pdf?tactic_type=EDM&tactic_detail=HC_Channel+Newsletter+2020_March_EMEA_None&sfid=&co=)



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