How to avoid an infection from smartphones

Monday, 06 April, 2020

Healthcare organisations that let their employees use their own smartphones at work could be creating a potential vector for COVID-19 to infect people. This is because consumer-grade smartphones can’t be cleaned as thoroughly and effectively as purpose-built devices, and the virus can live on these surfaces for up to several days.

This is especially concerning because a recent study by Infection Control Today found that 83% of survey respondents used their personal mobile technology devices in the hospital and just 68% said they cleaned or decontaminated those devices regularly.

Users constantly touch their smartphones, hold them to their faces to speak into them, and rarely wash their hands before and after touching their devices. Yet smartphones are increasingly being used in hospitals and other healthcare settings to streamline workflows and make workers’ jobs easier.

This creates a significant issue during normal times but, during the current pandemic in which the virus is so contagious and potentially deadly, hospitals and other healthcare facilities need to urgently review the use of personal devices.

The ideal solution is a device provided by the hospital. Purpose-built mobile devices tend to be more robust and secure, as well as more productive. While some organisations have avoided these devices in the belief that they don’t provide a desirable user experience, new purpose-built phones more closely mimic the consumer-grade experience that people prefer.

Furthermore, purpose-built healthcare smartphones such as the Spectralink Versity have been specifically designed to work in the harsh hospital environment. As well as having longer-lasting batteries, more robust security, and a consumer-quality user experience, the Versity was specifically designed with materials that can withstand the rigours of hospital-grade cleaning and disinfection.

The Versity has an IP68 rating, which means it can withstand immersion in water. It can also be disinfected using cleaners such as bleach, hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol. The Versity can even be cleaned with UV cleaning equipment.

Consumer-grade smartphones can’t withstand this sort of treatment and will quickly begin to malfunction or stop working altogether if cleaned with these materials.

The Spectralink Versity offers significant additional benefits as well as helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in hospitals. These include:

Built for constant use: Poor battery life and fragile screens are just two reasons consumer devices aren’t built to be used constantly in the workplace. Purpose-built devices overcome these issues with long battery life and robust design.

Reliable coverage: In a hospital environment, spotty or unreliable network coverage is unacceptable. Purpose-built devices use Wi-fi and are optimised for voice applications, delivering quality that consumer phones can’t match.

Secure messaging: Purpose-built devices offer secure messaging that complies with all relevant regulations.

Seamless integration: Purpose-built phones integrate with existing infrastructure and don’t require excessive support by the IT team.

Robust: Purpose-built devices are designed to withstand brutal conditions.

Given the significant advantages of purpose-built devices versus consumer-grade smartphones, deploying a solution such as Spectralink Versity can dramatically reduce risk for hospitals and healthcare facilities. These devices offer better functionality all round as well as the ability to thoroughly clean and disinfect the devices to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Image credit: ©

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