The Mobile Experience

5 Reasons to Disinfect Your Mobile Devices

Posted by Daria Cuda | June 9, 2015 at 3:32 PM

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5 Reasons to Disinfect Mobile DevicesIf you didn't know it by now, your mobile devices are totally gross! Cell phones have nearly 25,000 germs per square inch, 18 times more bacteria than a restroom flush handle, making it one of the dirtiest things that we use everyday. Yuck! (Keep that in mind the next time you touch your phone, which the average person checks about 1,500 times a day!) Tablet computers are nearly as disgusting since we tend to transfer germs back and forth from our devices anytime we use them.

In a clinical context, your tablet computer, phone, and other communication devices are considered ‘High Touch’ surfaces. Using mobile devices in a germ sensitive environment creates the potential for the transference of organisms to and from those you are in contact with. Cleaning and disinfecting your devices is a very important step towards minimizing the spread of organisms. Here are 5 very important reasons to methodically and consistently clean and disinfect your tablets:

1. Hospital Acquired Infections

Each year, approximately 1.7 million people acquire an infection during a hospital visit in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the US alone, these infections are the cause of 99,000 deaths.

2. Organisms Linger

Many organisms that cause infectious disease can linger and survive on surfaces. For instance, Acinetobacter baumannii, an aerobic gram-negative bacterium that is resistant to many antibiotics, can remain alive on a surface for hours, days, or even months.

3. Patient/Clinician/Home Use (BYOD) Tablet

Tablet computers, like the iPad, are rapidly being used in clinical settings for Patient Check-in, Education, and even entertainment purposes. Physicians and Nurses are utilizing tablets to access patient records and in some cases sharing this information with patients directly. Handing a tablet to a patient which has not been properly disinfected can pose a potential risk of transferring these organisms.

If your device is also your personal device, like a cellphone, or a tablet you take home with you, it is important that you properly disinfect these devices before potentially bringing these germs into your home.

4. Regulatory Guidelines

The CDC has published guidance with recommendations for disinfection and sterilization in Health-Care Facilities. They recommend disinfection of non-critical objects after each patient use if visibly soiled and most certainly if the patient is on contact precautions regardless of the object being visibly soiled.

The CDC also lists a series of approved chemical based disinfectants that can be used on non-critical devices. It is important to note that while some studies show that efficacy can be achieved in minutes, hospitals must adhere to the instructions on the label which most often requires a surface contact time of 10 minutes.

By law, all applicable label instructions on EPA-registered products must be followed. If the user selects exposure conditions that differ from those on the EPA-registered product label, the user assumes liability from any injuries resulting from off-label use and is potentially subject to enforcement action under FIFRA.

5. Do You Know What's Growing on Your Device?

Many recent studies have performed random inspection of mobile devices both inside hospitals and in public settings have tested positive for pathogens. One study found that close to 40% of patients personal devices carried bacteria while 20% of Healthcare workers were also harboring pathogens on their own devices.

How often you clean and disinfect your device is an important part in combating the proliferation of pathogens. Be sure to use appropriate methods of disinfection that adhere to your environment’s policies, regulatory guidance, and instructions from the manufacturer of your device.


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