Medical Keyboards in Near-Patient Areas
Most treatment rooms in medical practices and hospitals are equipped with their own PC in order to input medical history and exam results into a 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 medical grade keyboard back to the patient. This is why it is important to have a sealed keyboard and mouse, and to make sure to disinfect the medical keyboard and mouse when disinfecting surfaces.
Fully disinfectable keyboards and mouse devices can greatly reduce the risk of transmission of pathogens in medical environments. The Robert-Koch Institute recommends the use of such devices in patient care. They suggest running a risk assessment to determine which disinfectant and which disinfection procedure should be applied, and to keep an up-to-date hygiene plan with this information.
The surface of these medical keyboards is made of silicone and creates a sealed, impermeable surface. This makes silicone keyboards particularly insensitive and most carry the IP68 safety class.
Waterproof silicone keyboards can be easily washed under running water or even disinfected in an immersion bath. Of all medical keyboards, silicone keyboards offer the highest level of hygiene and can be used in operating theatres, quarantine units and intensive care units in hospitals. They may be purchased in wireless versions or with a USB cable.
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 waterproof glass layer is only on the top, 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 an immersion bath. Therefore, glass keyboards are usually only used in medical areas like treatment rooms, reception areas or in medical laboratories. Medical glass keyboards are available with or without a touchpad function and either wireless or with a USB cable.
Glass Keyboards vs Silicone Keyboards
|Properties||Glass Keyboards||Silicone Keyboards|
|Housing Material:||Glass front, plastic back||Plastic with silicone coating|
|Safety Class:||IP65 (top only)||IP68|
|Keyboard Use:||Capacitive keys operable with gloves||Mechanical keys operable with gloves|
|Cleaning:||With moist cloth (top 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|
The Medical Mouse
Computer mouse devices also frequently come into contact with the hands of medical personnel and therefore, with diverse bacteria, viruses and fungi. Consequently, a mouse can also represent a potential breeding ground for pathogenic germs and can be a source of cross-contamination. A medical mouse is equipped with a silicone cover that prevents liquids from penetrating the inside of the mouse and makes it waterproof. Medical mouse devices often have a special antibacterial additive to inhibit germ growth on the surface of the mouse.
The sealed mouse devices in our shop, whether wireless or equipped with a USB cable, are all waterproof and disinfectable and have easy-to-use scroll functions.