Conventional keyboards that were used in hospitals and health care industries were identified as the primary source for cross contamination. The space between the keys and housing tray of conventional keyboards is an ideal living place for dangerous germs and other pathogens. As hospital keyboards are used by many operators, there are high chances of spreading the deadly pathogens. Hence, the increasing demand from the social, governmental and business sectors for the need of keyboards that meet all infection control guidelines results in the invention of so called medical grade keyboards.
Medical grade keyboards are covered with Silicon containing an antimicrobial additive capable of providing round the clock protection from bacteria and other dreadful germs. Other major features of medical grade keyboards are:
Fully sealed rubber casing
Low noise while typing
Washable and sterilized
Easy to clean
Medical keyboards are widely used in patient rooms, nursing stations, hospital carts, ICU's, laboratories and other places where infection control and patient safety is important.
Medical keyboards are widely categorized as:
Washable, non-medical grade keyboards – Even though, they are washable, there are high chances of resting down the debris in the internal cavities of the keyboard. It is impossible to clean, drain and dry the internal cavities, as only the electronics inside the keyboard is waterproof. Trapping and lodging of contaminants results in the spreading of bacteria. In addition, the accumulated debris poses a threat to the functioning of keyboards.
Washable medical grade keyboards – These keyboards can be completely immersed in detergents or bacterial solution to clean and disinfect the parts. The fully sealed design helps blocking the solid matter and fluids entering the cavities. These keyboards can be used immediately after wash by just pat drying and shaking.
Most of the manufacturers use NEMA 4 Switches in the medical keyboards. These switches are ideal for medical applications as they have protective SYN-Proof™ coating that prevents pathogens and bacteria to stay between the keys.
While buying medical grade keyboards to enhance infection control, the following criteria must be kept in mind.
Fully sealed – It is crucial to select keyboards without open cavities, crevices and gaps to avoid the lodging and trapping of liquids, germs and bio-loads.
Lockable – Prefer lockable keyboard to ease the cleaning purpose.
Hygienic white – White keyboard helps in detecting the infectious splatter than the black keyboard.
Backlit – High intensity backlighting of each key is must to avoid typing errors in a poor lit room.
Silent – Loud typing noise irritates the patients. Hence, make sure to buy low noise keyboard to ensure patients’ comfort.
Use Medical Grade Keyboards to Prevent Spreading of Microbes