Keyboard Covers – Are They Efficient in Today's Society?

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Can keyboard covers really reduce infection in today's society? Yes but the question arises as to whether they are the most efficient way to do so and there are various studies which have suggested otherwise... Keyboard Specialists Ltd (KBS) now offer a range of washable keyboards and IT equipment ready for use in any medical environment and show the key differences between them.

Can keyboard covers really reduce infection in today's society? Yes but the question arises as to whether they are the most efficient way to do so and there are various studies which have suggested otherwise... Keyboard Specialists Ltd (KBS) now offer a range of washable keyboards and IT equipment ready for use in any medical environment and show the key differences between them.

Almost all of us use a computer – social networking giant Facebook alone has over 1 billion users and with the use of fibre optics, online sales and vouchers, the world now seems to be computer crazy. A 2010 study found that two-thirds of users do not clean their keyboard properly. A scary thought when you consider the fact that these micro-organism havens can harbour over 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat!

With this in mind, how about in environments where this can be critical, like a hospital for example? Well with the worry of Health Care Associated Infection’s (HCAI’s) like MRSA and C. Diff, computer equipment which can be properly cleaned and sanitised is essential.

As patient records become computerised and more computers are used across organisations such as the NHS, practicality becomes a key factor and with The Department of Medical Microbiology (University Hospital Nijmegen – Netherlands) finding that using alcohol hand disinfectant to reach 100% compliance, a nurse working a 12 hour shift would take 3 hours on this task alone, it does demonstrate the requirement for tools and staffing to be utilised effectively.

Many healthcare organisations have started to use keyboard covers to ‘protect the keyboard’ and to ‘make it cleanable’. While this may be the case, covers have to be put on, removed, cleaned (inside and out), dried and then put back on. On top of this there is problem that typing speed and haptic technology (tactile feedback) can be affected. However, there is an alternative...

KBS has been providing specialist medical IT equipment for over 6 years and has a huge range of products which meet the medical sectors difficult criterion:

Cleankeys CK2: Offers a fully flat surfaced keyboard which can be cleaned using any medical grade disinfectant in under 10 seconds. This award-winning keyboard is fully HTM 01-05 compliant, wireless with a rechargeable battery and has a working range of up to 10m.

Medigenic Compliance: Offers a flat surface but with tactile feedback as well as a ‘Clean-Me’ alert systems which indicates when the keyboard needs cleaning. This keyboard was designed in conjunction with the NHS.

Accumed: Offers a compact solution with built-in touchpad and cleaning light alert system. With an on-site timer and almost flat keys, this fully IP67 rated keyboard can be fully submerged and has passed the JIS Z 2801:2001 anti-microbial test standards.

All of these items can be cleaned using any medical grade disinfectant. Studies have shown that 99.99% of all bacteria can be killed & HCAI’s can be reduced with this method. They can all be used in medical environments from Dentists and Doctors to Laboratories and Theatre. None of them require covers to be removed and put on etc, but most importantly; they can help reduce HCAI’s and save lives.

Though keyboard covers may be considered an obvious method of infection reduction, they are certainly not the most practical or efficient. For things to run seamlessly in healthcare environments, equipment should be easily cleanable without restricting use. This is why KBS recommends washable keyboards instead.

KBS offer advice, support, guidance and products which can be used in any medical environment.

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Kieran Ford
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