Mock ups have been tested and shown to be effective at cleaning without causing keyboard damage. Disinfection effectiveness has been laboratory tested and confirmed by swabbing samples and culturing on agar plates before and after treatment. Patent is pending. Interest is high but initial injection mold engineering and creation quotes obtained represent the biggest single cost to date and reason for application to Medstartr.
The CDC estimates that five to ten percent of patients in the hospital will get a Healthcare-associated infection during their hospital stay. That means we will average one on every hall of every hospital in America all the time. The bacteria that are found in hospitals are more likely to be "superbugs" that resist treatment with antibiotics. Contracting and then treating these infections increases patient pain and suffering, increases antibiotic use, decreases antibiotic effectiveness over the long term, lengthens hospital stays and shortens lives. Computer keyboards have been identified in over a dozen studies as an important reservoir for these infectious organisms. The experts say that they must be cleaned and disinfected to protect patients. Patients deserve the best possible care with the fewest possible risks of harm. Hospitals need a tool like this to help them do just that.
"Computers are ubiquitous in the healthcare setting and have been shown to be contaminated with potentially pathogenic microorganisms," write William A. Rutala, PhD, MPH, from the University of North Carolina Health Care System in Chapel Hill, and colleagues. “Potential pathogens cultured from more than 50% of the computers included coagulase-negative staphylococci (100% of keyboards), diphtheroids (80%), Micrococcus species (72%), and Bacillus species (64%). Other pathogens cultured were ORSA (4% of keyboards), oxacillin-susceptible S. aureus (4%), vancomycin-susceptible Enterococcus species (12%), and nonfermentative Gram-negative rods (36%).” Rutala's team found two or more microorganisms on all of the computer keyboards. For instance, all of those keyboards tested positive for a type of staph bacterium (coagulase-negative staphylococci), which is one of the most common causes of bloodstream infections in hospitalized patients. Diphtheroids were found on 80% of the keyboards. Cancer, AIDS, and other patients in the hospital whose immune system is weak are at high risk for infections from diphtheroids. "Our data suggest that microbial contamination of keyboards is prevalent and that keyboards may be successfully decontaminated with disinfectants," the authors write. "Keyboards should be disinfected daily or when visibly soiled or if they become contaminated with blood.... We agree with other investigators who have recommended that routine disinfection be performed on computer keyboards that are used in patient care areas." Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2006;27:372-377 Computer keyboards contain the organisms that make it harder for physicians to get their patients well and discharged from the hospital. Killing those organisms on keyboards decreases the opportunity for them to cause disease.
The CDC reports that in 2011 there were 722,000 Healthcare-associated Infections and 75,000 patients died with them. Five to ten percent of inpatients will become infected. Treating these infections costs hospitals an estimated $9.8 billion each year according to a 2013 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This is a major problem for hospitals since the treatment costs associated with them are not reimbursed by insurance or other payers and as such completely wipes out any profits from treating inpatients. Killing the bacteria that thrive in keyboards eliminates a growing, inadequately addressed reservoir for the very same organisms that cause these dangerous and costly infections. A year's worth of scrub brushes would pay for themselves if only a handful of Healthcare-associated Infections were prevented.
While the main thrust of this device is to clean computer keyboards, it is equally effective at cleaning virtually any electronic device that can be damaged by over-wetting. Device companies could include it to clean their own clinical equipment. All computer keyboards in the public space harbor infectious organisms. Ill patients with weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk from these infections, but there are susceptible people everywhere. All workplaces, libraries, schools, hotels, cruise ships where computer keyboards are used by multiple users will serve as a site for disease transmission. Using this device can be an inexpensive outward sign of a company's concern about the wellbeing of their patrons. For large corporations, lost productivity from illness is a real problem that costs the economy 227 billion dollars each year. Infection control policies in the workplace must include keyboard disinfection to be effective. This device is a major part of that solution and a clear indication that something is being done to protect people from illness.
This product shows a lot of promise! I have been fortunate to learn about the Keyster Keyboard Scrubber firsthand; the scrubber targets the ubiquitous issue of surface pathogens in a novel, effective way, and seems to be amidst a small number of products in healthcare sanitation that can not only mitigate, but eradicate the problem upon straightforward and pragmatic application. Hospitals, clinics, and even businesses and households that include the Keyster Keyboard Scrubber in their defense against germs can rest assured that their workspace or home is cleaner and safer.
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