Disinfecting iPads in Clinical Settings

In honor of an impending cold and flu season, let’s talk about disinfecting iPads or other mobile health tools that are used in clinical settings.

iPad & Friends by Yutaka Tustano (CC BY 2.0)

A recent study done by iMedical Apps started out by stating the obvious: using mHealth clinical tools fills great information gaps, but also allows for a significant amount of microbial surface contamination. Manufacturers don’t recommend use of anything more than a fleece cloth, which valiantly fights fingerprints but hardly makes combats harmful substances.

iMedicalApps conducted a study involving nurses who regularly disinfected iPads and medical informatics professionals who were forbidden from disinfecting their iPads. Their resulst were encouraging: standardized surface disinfection with isopropanol wipes as guided by the application significantly reduces this microbial load. It lowered germ count and reduced the change or nosocomial pathogen transmission. The article has a step by step description of how to properly disinfect iPads that allows others to replicate their process.

The downside: the process that best kills harmful pathogens may lead to losing the manufacturer’s warranty for the devices.

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