Even as BlackBerry Ltd. strives to become a leading supplier of mobile devices for the healthcare industry, the company is mulling a bacteria-free smartphone for medical practitioners. Speaking of the pilot project, a spokesperson from the company said that a bacteria-free handset would mean that healthcare workers will have one less device to sanitize. The company’s CEO, John Chen said that the company had not begun to develop the smartphone as yet. Chen was addressing the media during the launch of a pilot project for sending clinical alerts in partnership with Cisco Systems and ThoughtWire. This pilot project has been launched at the Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital.
According to the chief medical information officer of the hospital, smartphones are the source of significant bacteria transfer. Bacteria could pass between patients as well as healthcare professionals. A clean phone could potentially prove to be a solution that effectively addresses this problem. Bacteria transfer usually takes place via mobile phones or through equipment that is kept in close proximity of affected patients.
Best practices require healthcare practitioners to wipe their phones using an alcoholic wipe when entering and leaving a patient’s room to prevent bacteria from spreading. In fact, a recent news report in Business News Network cited a study that appeared in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, which found that anywhere between 20% and 30% of germs spread between a fingertip and phone. But the problem here is that hospitals are sometimes unaware of the efficacy of alcohol wipes, and not all medical practitioners use alcohol wipes as stipulated.
Considering that hospital-acquired infections are among the prime reasons of death among in-patients, the use of effective equipment and products becomes essential. But this problem could be addressed to some extent if BlackBerry’s smartphone is indeed efficacious.