What can retailers learn about keeping devices clean from the healthcare industry?
It’s interesting that each year there are new words put together that become the fabric of that year. So here we are in 2020 with a new phrase – social distancing. Lately, other words have become part of our everyday conversation including anti-bacterial, antimicrobial, sanitizers, disinfectant-ready to name a few. Is one better than the other? What does it really mean?
If we look at a nurse working in a hospital surrounded by germs they use handwashing techniques and they wear gloves for minimizing the chance of getting sick. But what about the things a nurse touches throughout the day? Phone, keyboard, computer. Studies show that your mobile device and keyboard are 18 times dirtier than a public bathroom, containing 25,000 germs per square inch.
So what does disinfectant-ready really mean?
Many devices in healthcare are “disinfectant-ready.” That’s a fancy way of saying the device is cleanable with harsh solvents that will not degrade the plastic. In healthcare, many handheld computers, phones, barcode scanners, medical carts, keyboards and monitors are made with a XENOY plastic to withstand the cleaning that would otherwise cause brittleness, breakage and total disintegration to standard-grade plastics.
Healthcare has it figured out! Wash hands with antibacterial soap, wear gloves, a facemask, clean the devices you touch, and make sure the devices you touch be made of materials that can withstand cleanings several times a day.
What’s the difference between disinfectant-ready products and antimicrobial products?
In Healthcare, in addition to disinfectant-ready products there are also antimicrobial products. These products have silver-ion embedded into the plastic. This is not a spray-on coating. The silver-ion is mixed into the mold during manufacturing – like eggs into cake batter.
Why Silver? The Greeks in Athens realized centuries ago that silver impeded the growth of deadly organisms. That is the reason they invented “silverware.” They didn’t have much in the way of disinfectants so they ate with silver utensils that would not allow bacterial growth. Coincidently, that is why dentists use silver in your cavity fillings. Silver is also used in burn patients to help promote healing.
Screen protectors are waterproof and antimicrobial via silver-ion technology. They are resistant to harsh chemicals, allowing the screen to remain crisp and clear. Harsh chemicals will not cloud or distort the screen. The screen protector also increases tensile strength through its self-healing properties, protecting the screen from scratches.
What else is being used to prevent the spread of bacteria?
UV light is the latest technology in infection prevention which involves zero human interaction and has 360 degrees of cleaning capacity. Hospital rooms can be disinfected with UV robots that can automatically start when the room is still and stop if there is movement in the room. Smaller items can go into a tabletop “microwave” looking unit that can disinfect keys, phones, wallets and more at the end of a clinician’s shift before going home to their family.
At a time when the focus in healthcare is Infection prevention and antimicrobial products, will retail take healthcare sanitation best practices for their own?