The Keyboard in Near-Patient Areas
As an input medium, the keyboard can no longer be disregarded in medical areas. These are no longer only used for administrative tasks or at reception, but also in near-patient areas.
Most treatment rooms are equipped with their own PC in order to immediately input the medical history and exam results into the patient's file and fill out the required forms. By switching between examining, documenting and treating, germs are automatically transferred from the hands or gloves onto the keyboard. Germ transmission can also occur in the other direction–from the contaminated keyboard back to the patient. This is why it is important to also disinfect the keyboard when disinfecting surfaces.
Risk Assessment as the Basis for Disinfection
In order to find out how frequently and which keyboards need to be disinfected, the Robert Koch Institute suggests running a risk assessment. This determines which disinfectant and which disinfection procedure should be applied. The final step is to update the hygiene plan with this information.
The Silicone Keyboard
The surface of this keyboard is made of silicone and creates a closed impermeable surface. This makes silicone keyboards particularly insensitive and most carry the IP68 safety class, which not only characterises them as dust-proof, but also insensitive to liquid submersion.
Silicone keyboards can also be easily washed under running water or even disinfected in a submersion bath. Among medical keyboards, the silicone keyboard offers the highest level of hygiene and can even be used in operating theatres, quarantine units and intensive care units.
The Glass Keyboard
Unlike the silicone keyboard with its mechanical keys that make it look quite similar to a common keyboard, the glass keyboard has capacitive keys with a smooth surface that make it visually appealing. However, the water-tight glass layer is only on the top side, meaning that most glass keyboards only offer safety class IP65.
Glass keyboards can be easily wiped down with a cloth or wipe, but cannot be cleaned under running water or in a submersion bath. Therefore, the glass keyboard is usually only used in medical areas like the treatment room, reception area or in the medical laboratory.
The Differences Between Glass and Silicone Keyboards at a Glance:
|Properties||Glass Keyboards||Silicone Keyboards|
|Housing Material:||Glass front, plastic back||Plastic with silicone coating|
|Safety Class:||IP65 (front only)||IP68|
|Keyboard Use:||Capacitive keys operable with gloves||Mechanical keys operable with gloves|
|Cleaning:||With moist cloth (front only)||With moist cloth (all sides)|
|Disinfection:||Spray or wipe||Spray, wipe or in submersion bath|
|Characteristics:||Great for users with tendon and joint issues||Ideal for hygienically critical areas|
Not only the keyboard, but also the mouse frequently comes into contact with the hands of the medical personnel and, therefore, also comes into contact with diverse bacteria, viruses and fungi. Therefore, the mouse can also represent a potential breeding ground for pathogenic germs.
Just as with the keyboards, a risk assessment should also occur for the mouse in order to establish how high the transmission risk is. If the risk is high because the mouse is used in the immediate vicinity of patients and requires frequent disinfection, then it is sensible to acquire a medical mouse.
A medical mouse is basically equipped with a silicone cover that prevents liquids from penetrating the inside of the mouse. Furthermore, the input medium is also disinfectant tolerant. Medical mouses are often equipped with a special additive that should prevent germ growth on the surface.
With these properties, the silicone mouse can also be used in hygienically critical areas, such as the operating theatre, intensive care units or quarantine wards.
Special Keyboards from GETT
In addition to standard medical keyboards, GETT offers some keyboards that come with additional functionalities, such as the silicone keyboard with illumination. This special keyboard has 4-stage adjustable illumination that makes it ideal for darkened rooms. A good example of a use for illuminated keyboards is the ultrasound room. Just like with common silicone keyboards, the illuminated keyboard can also be cleaned under running water and submersed in a disinfecting bath if necessary.
Keyboard with Trackpad
Medical keyboards with an integrated trackpad can always be used when you do not want a mouse or when there is simply no free space for one. The lack of a mouse also reduces reprocessing time, as only the keyboard would need to be disinfected. There are silicone and glass keyboards with integrated trackpads available.
Waterproof Keyboards and Mouses from GETT
In this category, we offer you a large selection of medical keyboards from the German name brand GETT. Here, you will also find waterproof mouses for use in hygienically sensitive areas.