New App to Disinfect iPads in Clinical Settings

deBaciPads and other tablets are becoming an integral part of daily clinical functioning. If you use your iPad in a hospital setting, it is important to consider that your technology can spread nosocomial infections. Well, there is an app for that.

deBac is a free iOS app that can can be used as an effective intervention to reduce microbial load.  A recent study published in JMIR evaluated the application versus no disinfection process and demonstrated 2.7-fold (P=.000670) lower bacterial load on the devices used in the clinical environment that underwent a standardized daily disinfection routine.

The app is simple, it is a step-by-step interactive program that walks you through the decontamination process using isopropanol wipes. While that authors warn that this process may void your iPad warranty, they researched Apple’s recommendations for cleaning iOS devices. Apple warns against using cleaners or detergents but not specifically against alcohol wipes, so this remains an unresolved issue.

Some of the steps in the process:

  • Turn the device off before starting the cleaning process
  • Unplug all connectors from the device and remove all visible sating from the surface of the iPad
  • Put on chemical resistant gloves that are in accordance with the in-house policy
  • Using a slightly damp cleansing tissue, wipe the front of the deivce until the screen background has turned completely blue. Start at the top left corner. The cleaning processs has to take at least 10 seconds.
  • etc

The authors hope to inform clinicians and hospitals that the “normal use of tablet PCs leads to a remarkable amount of microbial surface contamination. Standardized surface disinfection with isopropanol wipes as guided by the application significantly reduces this microbial load when performed regularly.”

Source: J Med Internet Res 2013;15(8):e176