Computer device contamination in healthcare settings

Added June 2, 2020

Citation: Ide N, Frogner BK, LeRouge CM, et al. What’s on your keyboard? A systematic review of the contamination of peripheral computer devices in healthcare settings. BMJ Open. 2019;9(3):e026437

What is this? Infection prevention and control interventions are important in healthcare settings, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Existing research on the extent of contamination of computer equipment in clinical settings and ways to remove this may provide useful information for policy makers.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for research into contamination rates of computer-related hardware (such as keyboards, mice, laptops and tablets) and the effects of disinfection techniques, in high and upper-middle income countries. They restricted their searches to articles published in English between 1990 and July 2017. They identified 50 studies of device contamination and 25 studies of disinfection or cleaning interventions.

What was found: Computer equipment in healthcare settings was frequently contaminated, with the most common contaminants being skin commensal organisms. Potential pathogenic organisms were also frequently identified, including methicillin-resistant-staphylococcus-aureus (MRSA).

Disinfection interventions may reduce contamination, with effective interventions including specific cleaning compounds (including chlorine or bleach products), UV-light-emitting devices and enhanced cleaning protocols.

Whether there is an association between the contamination of computer equipment in healthcare settings and subsequent colonization or infection of staff and patients is uncertain.


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