A Cleaning Protocol for NICU Smartphones

One of the most common questions we receive from clinicians is concern regarding the required use of smartphone devices to run the Keriton platform. The majority of our customers use mobile devices, like smartphones, to run Keriton in the hospital setting.

(However, all Keriton’s clinical applications — Kare Mom, Kare Lactation and Kare Tech — run on desktops, laptops and computer-on-wheels setups too.)

A strong body of research shows that personal mobile phones are covered in infectious pathogens and pose an infection risk to vulnerable infants in neonatal intensive care. As a result, most NICUs have strict policies regarding the use of personal cell phones; these range from mandatory phone cleaning protocols upon entering the unit to total restriction of all personal cell phone use by both families and staff.

Just Another Device

First, it is important to remember that clinicians use and clean point-of-care devices every day. From glucometers to transilluminators, shared medical devices are a part of standard part of clinical practice. With the same dedication to cleaning as we approach other devices, smartphones can be successfully integrated without increasing overall infection risk.

A Cleaning Protocol That Works

One of our partner hospitals developed a smartphone cleaning protocol that we feel is especially thorough and can be used as a guide for those incorporating smartphones into their unit workflows.

The docking/charging station for all smartphones is set up in the unit clerk area and the phones are managed by the unit clerks.

  •  As per their protocol, at the end of every shift (6:30am/6:30pm), unit clerks collect the smartphones from nursing and bring them back to the dock.
  •  Once there, they thoroughly clean each phone with a cell phone-specific antimicrobial wipe and then put phones in a UV cleaning unit to be further disinfected.
  •  After the phones are removed from the UV unit, they are put on the dock to charge and kept with the unit clerks until they can be distributed again at the start of the next shift (7:30am/7:30pm).
  •  Personal cell phone use is strictly prohibited for staff members and family members are required to clean their cell phones upon entering the unit.

Nurses are educated to never leave the phones on patient bedsides and to clean them throughout their shift as they would clean any other device.

With some extra planning and education, smartphones can be one of the cleanest and most helpful devices on the unit. Hope the above techniques help you as you plan to make your NICU smartphone ready. In case you would like any additional details, get in touch.

Putnam, K. (2017). Device cleaning: right device, right product, right protocol. Association of periOperative Registered Nurses Journal, 105(5), 10-11.

Reprocessing medical devices in health care settings: validation methods and labeling. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https:// www.fda.gov/downloads/medicaldevices/ deviceregulationandguidance/guidancedocuments/ucm253010.pdf. Published March 17, 2015. Accessed October 23, 2017.

Weber, D.J., Kanamori, H., & Rutala, W. A. (2016). ‘No touch’ technologies for environmental decontamination: focus on ultraviolet devices and hydrogen peroxide systems. Current Opinion in Infectious Disease, 29(4), 424-431.