NHS rolls out infection-resistant keyboards

Keyboards with cleanliness sensors and a germ-resistant coating are being introduced in a bid to make hospitals cleaner and safer
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

The NHS is introducing 7,500 infection-resistant keyboards in hospitals across England as part of efforts to make hospitals cleaner and safer.

The keyboards have been developed by University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) in a pilot supported by Connecting for Health, the Department of Health's technology agency.

The devices are completely flat, to avoid collecting debris that often harbours infections, and are covered with a hypoallergenic material which is resistant to bug growth.

The keyboards also have a warning light to alert users when they haven't been cleaned for a certain period of time. This period is adjustable, depending on the environment. The light only goes out once sensors on the device are satisfied it has been sufficiently cleaned.

UCLH microbiologists have found the new technology can lead to a 70 percent reduction in bacteria levels on keyboards, if they are properly cleaned every 12 hours.

The warning-light system has also been claimed to increase hand-washing by up to 10 percent.

Maureen Baker, Connecting for Health's national clinical lead for patient safety, said the technology represents a significant step forwards in tackling hospital-acquired infections and in tackling MRSA.

Paul Jones, Connecting for Health's chief technology officer, said the introduction of these devices provides a good example of how technology innovations can improve safety in hospitals.

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