The average cell phone is dirtier than you might think. It has been estimated that a typical mobile phone could be up to six times dirtier than a public toilet and as many as one in four handsets could carry pathogenic bacteria. While we wash our hands, our phones rarely, if ever, get cleaned, and so they accumulate a significant level of contamination.
This is a concern in healthcare facilities, where patients could be at risk of illness from introduced pathogens. While ethanol hand gels are provided in many hospitals, these are only of limited use if people immediately re-infect their hands by handling their cell phones or other mobile devices.
Wiping every device with anti-bacterial wipes is not always practical and the chemical components can damage electronics. To help with this problem, CleanSlate, a company out of Toronto, Canada, has developed the CleanSlate UV Sanitizer, a rapid sanitization solution that can effectively reduce the level of contamination on mobile devices without the need for user training.
Medgadget asked CleanSlate CEO Taylor Mann and CleanSlate advisor and Sachs Policy group CEO Jeff Sachs some questions about the device.
Conn Hastings, Medgadget: What challenges do healthcare staff face in reducing the levels of hospital-acquired infections, including drug-resistant infections? How does the CleanSlate device help?
Taylor Mann: One of the most significant challenges in infection control is that there are so many potential sources of infection. Any infection prevention regime requires a truly multi-faceted approach. Over the last five years, mobile devices have been identified as a growing gap in environmental disinfection, and one that undermines hand hygiene. With the CleanSlate Sanitizer, facilities can plug this gap, allowing staff and visitors to disinfect mobile devices quickly when entering units, hospitals or sensitive areas.
Jeff Sachs: I’ve mentored and worked with numerous tech startups and established institutions in the healthcare space over the years. I became a mentor for CleanSlate very early on because I saw how well their product addressed the technology side of a serious problem in our hospitals, while also improving workflow processes. The hospital industry still has a long way to go to reduce infections acquired in facilities, but we know the rate can be reduced to near zero. CleanSlate’s Sanitizer directly breaks the chain of infection – I believe these are the kinds of innovative solutions that impact our healthcare system in a larger way.
Medgadget: In simple terms, how does the UV sanitizer work?
Taylor Mann: CleanSlate’s UV Sanitizer is very easy to use and requires no training. A user simply walks up to the Sanitizer, inserts their mobile device, and closes the lid. The tray moves back into a specially-designed UV chamber, where the device is bathed in UV light, generated from six germicidal bulbs, for 30 seconds. The device is then returned to the user, who removes it with clean hands. In terms of effectiveness, our 2nd Generation device attains a 99.74% kill rate on the most dangerous and difficult-to-kill bacteria, including MRSA, E.Coli and C. Difficile spores. In tests conducted by a third-party lab, our technology was 250x more effective than our closest competitor.
Medgadget: What advantages does the sanitizer offer compared with other decontamination solutions?
Jeff Sachs: With disinfecting wipes, hospital staff must wipe down the entire surface of a device and let it sit for several minutes. However, doctors and nurses are constantly on the move from one patient or room to the next, so they don’t have time to waste wiping down devices. CleanSlate’s Sanitizer fits their workflow best because it operates on a 30 second cycle. The second advantage of this technology is that it is chemical-free. Some disinfecting wipes contain chemicals that are damaging to electronic screens.
Entrepreneurs are chomping at the bit to disrupt every part of healthcare delivery. Really smart companies are springing up, and they are applying technology to change the way care is delivered in all areas. What sets CleanSlate apart from other health tech startups is their commitment to user-focused development. Customer feedback remains at the foundation for all that they do, and I believe that this will contribute to their growth story in a major way and help them become the leader in infection control for portable devices.
Medgadget: Is the sanitizer conceived for use by hospital visitors or staff? Can the sanitizer be used to sanitize medical equipment, as well as cellphones and tablets?
Jeff Sachs: CleanSlate’s Sanitizer can be used for a variety of applications in the clinical setting, from hospital staff to visitors and patients. It is presently being used in the ER and Intensive Care Units, as well as in nursing stations and waiting rooms.
Portable electronics are a part of daily life, and although these devices travel with us everywhere, the reality is that they are almost never clean, so the need for this type of Sanitizer exists beyond hospitals. What is so exciting about CleanSlate’s technology is that it can be beneficial in any setting where cleanliness and sanitation is really important, such as food processing plants, schools, and even corporate offices.
Medgadget: Does the CleanSlate sanitizer pose any threat to the functionality of decontaminated devices?
Taylor Mann: Absolutely not. UV light is proven safe for these devices. Corrosive chemical-based wipes aren’t suitable for mobile devices because they can be harmful to the screens. Whether it’s a personal smartphone, tablet or any portable medical device, CleanSlate’s Sanitizer is the safest way to decontaminate these tools.
Medgadget: Are hospital visitors interested to try the sanitizer? How do you plan to encourage people to use the sanitizers regularly?
Taylor Mann: The CleanSlate Sanitizer is designed for and already used by staff and visitors alike. It’s very user-friendly, and has already been deployed at hospital entrances, waiting rooms and staff areas.
Awareness is key. The average phone is six times dirtier than a public toilet. The more aware of this people become, the more motivated they are to sanitize their devices. For us, signage and education have been most effective in encouraging visitors to sanitize their devices upon entering or exiting hospitals. Because of its effectiveness and ease of use, we believe that CleanSlate’s UV Sanitizer will quickly become part of the visitor and staff routine.
Link: CleanSlate info page…