Coronavirus transmission is currently the top priority across the world. However, this does not mean that we are always protecting ourselves correctly. In the “heat of the moment” we do not usually stop to make calculations and assess possible risks. Adrenaline and our instinct to act decisively invites us to be more operational instead of careful.
Coronavirus Transmission Reflected in the “Post-crash response” Guide
One of the most dangerous roles to take in the midst of a highway accident is that of a rescuer. According to the WHO “Post-crash response guide”, rescuers who stop to help the injured are often themselves injured by other oncoming traffic. A goodhearted attempt to help results in even greater disaster for everyone involved.
Sadly, the situation is similar for medical staff in COVID-19 hospitals.
In the current coronavirus crisis, we have realized the importance of proper hygiene and avoiding close contact with other people in an effort to avoid the transmission of pathogens (viruses, bacteria, etc.). However, as hard as we try to get rid of them, these pathogens could potentially remain viable on numerous surfaces for hours or even days, until they find a new host to infect.
A particularly dangerous host for microorganisms are the health personnel themselves for two very important reasons:
- The importance they have within the care chain or patients.
- Simultaneously, their capacity to transmit a pathogen to patients and even other medical personnel.
For all these reasons, dedicating efforts to avoid the transmission of germs in this segment of the population is key.
The Humble Keyboard as A Dangerous COVID-19 Transmitter
Still, a common scenario in healthcare settings is the use of shared computers. In a hospital ward with fifty patients, more than twenty health and administrative staff often share only a handful of computers. The constant rush can cause staff to use computers without adequate prior safety measures between one patient and another (in some cases even while still wearing gloves).
“Organizations need to be more rigorous in keeping shared equipment clean. Keyboards and other hand contact areas such as a computer mouse should be regularly cleaned and disinfected, especially for multiple-user workstations,” Prof Palombo of Swinburne University of Technology said.
This and other recent studies have revealed that shared keyboards are serious germ breeding grounds, containing five times more microorganisms than those used by just one individual.
The researchers have based their findings on microbiological cultures from shared computers. Almost half of those keyboards harboured the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria which, while generally harmless when on the skin, can cause serious infections if it enters the body. Conversely, studies showed that it was only present on one fifth of keyboards with a single user.
According to the medical publication, on stainless steel or plastic surfaces, a viable virus was detected up to 72 hours later. It can remain for three days on these surfaces, although the load is greatly reduced.
Professor Palombo of Swinburne University of Technology proposes a solution, “we must be more rigorous to keep the shared equipment clean.” It sounds like a good idea, but in healthcare environments as busy as an emergency or a hospital ward this is easier said than done.
Buying a computer for each individual in a hospital would not only be economically unfeasible but would pose space problems that would require building hospital wings just to house computers.
What Everyone in Healthcare Carried A Computer In Their Pocket?
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This is already happening. Our smartphones have the capacity and technology to perform much more complex operations than we do on hospital computers.
A tool that would allow us to instinctively carry out all the necessary clinical information, would not only be convenient and comfortable, but would also help us to reduce the transmission of diseases between healthcare personnel and their patients.
At Sherplay, we are convinced that our Beeseet app will be the clinical note’s manager of the future, bringing safe healthcare to people across the world.
Join us on this adventure!