Katherine Stanton, a clinical informatics database analyst at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Conn., places her cellphone into the ReadyDock device for disinfecting. The hospital has been piloting the device, which is designed to reduce health care-associated infections, since December and it recently ordered two more multi-station units to put the sanitizing technology into broader use.
As medical technology is moved from room to room, disinfection is necessary to avoid spreading infection. The same is true for highly portable personal computers, including cellphones and tablets that are carried between patient rooms.
ReadyDock, which holds up to five devices at one time, disinfects mobile devices utilizing germicidal light. The docking station, which locks via a pin code, also charges the devices. Linda L. Shanley, vice president and chief information officer for Saint Francis Care, said mobile devices must be properly disinfected between patient uses. "You can't just wipe them down."
"We are getting more and more requests for mobility in ultra-personal devices" such as cellphones and tablets, said Rich Alfredo, a "desktop solution architect" at the hospital, which already has a system in place that sends the patients' calls directly to the nurses' mobile devices. "We're seeing more and more call for these smaller devices."
The hospital's new MyCare program is also spurring the use of personal communication technology. MyCare gives patients secure online access to portions of their medical records, with the aim of getting them more involved in their own health care. For now, hospital patients must use their own portable computers or smartphones to log in to MyCare, but in the near future the hospital plans to give patients access to shared tablet devices.
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