To prove effectiveness of wrapping tablet computers in order to reduce microbiological contamination, German researchers analyzed 115 patients during a period of 11 days in the University Hospital of Erlangen.
Within this period patients were provided an with an iPad tablet computer while waiting for their MRI examination. Every day the contamination of the surface of the tablet was determined before the first and after the final use. Before the device was handed over to a patient, it was enclosed in a customized single-use plastic bag, which was analyzed for bacterial contamination after each use. A questionnaire was applied to determine whether the plastic bag impairs the user satisfaction and the functionality of the touchscreen.
Following the use by patients the outside of the plastic bags was found to be contaminated with various bacteria and some of them were potentially pathogenic. In contrast, the plastic bag covered surface of the tablet was significantly less contaminated. Likewise, unused plastic bags did not show any contamination.
Tablets get severely contaminated during usage in a clinical setting. Results from the study show that wrapping with a customized single-use plastic bag significantly reduces microbiological contamination of the device, protects patients from the acquisition of potentially pathogenic bacteria and hardly impairs the user satisfaction and the functionality of the touchscreen.