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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Bug-free keyboards fight infection


18 June, 2008  

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) has received thousands of “infection-resistant” keyboards as part of a million pound contract to cut infection rates.

The Medigenic keyboards are completely flat and covered with a hypoallergenic material which is resistant to the growth of bacteria like Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

A timed light flashes on and off when the keyboard needs cleaning and also reminds staff to wash their hands.

And sensors make sure the light only stops flashing once the keyboard has been properly cleaned with alcohol wipes.

The NHS has placed an order for 7,500 of the keyboards for use across hospitals in England.

Experts from University College London Hospital (UCLH) originally developed the keyboards as part of a project. Research suggested that bacteria levels were cut by 70% if the units were cleaned every 12 hours.

Dr Peter Wilson, UCLH consultant microbiologist and one of the inventors of the keyboard, said: “Doctors and nurses were going from patient to keyboard without washing their hands. That’s quite understandable because you would wash your hands between patients but not between a patient and a keyboard.

“Compliance with twice daily cleaning went up from 10-20% with the keyboard covers to 87% with the new model.”

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