Administrators of a London teaching hospital are installing infection resistant computer keyboards in their wards and other clinical areas to combat the problem of hospital acquired infections.
University College London Hospitals (UCLH) will install Esterline Advanced Input Systems’ Medigenic keyboards which can be easily cleaned and alert hospital staff when they need cleaning.
UCLH estimated that Medigenic keyboards could save the UK National Health Service (NHS) millions of pounds in the battle against the spread of super-bugs like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Their research suggests that the keyboard could cut MRSA cases by up to 10%.
The Medigenic keyboards are equipped with a timing device to warn nursing staff they need cleaning. Hidden sensors ensure that the surfaces are cleaned properly. Research by microbiologists at UCLH showed that bacterial levels fall by 70% if keyboards are cleaned every twelve hours and that compliance with keyboard cleaning protocols increased to 87% with Medigenic.
With increasing computerization of patient records at all hospitals, Dr Paul Ostro, a clinical scientist at UCLH said, it’s a big problem because you can’t easily clean conventional keyboards – you cannot get between the keys. You cannot put water on them or fluids and therefore you cannot clean the surface easily.
Dr Peter Wilson, UCLH consultant microbiologist added, the Medigenic keyboard is a significant step forward in the battle against infections like MRSA. You can run education campaigns to get people to wash their hands more often but the impact only lasts for about eight weeks. But with these keyboards you have a constant reminder of the importance of washing your hands and keeping your computer clean.