Nosocomial infection, more commonly known as hospital-acquired infection (HAI) and healthcare-associated infection, are those diseases that can infect patients during their stay in a hospital. The elderly, the very young, and individuals with compromised immune systems are especially prone to HAI. Originally, cases were on the downswing in the US: the invasive MRSA, for example, saw a 36 percent drop between 2009 through 2014 per the government website, health.gov.

That changed with COVID-19’s arrival in 2020. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention reported sharp increases in HAI cases especially among patients supported by catheters and ventilators. Between 2019 and 2020, complications from urinary tract infections, antibiotic-resistant staph infections, and others rose between 45 to 47 percent depending upon the pathogen. In response, the CDC has allocated over $2 billion from Congress’s American Rescue Plan to combat outbreaks like HAI as well as prevent them.

Hospital administrations, as one can imagine, are reassessing their infection control policies to stave off this HAI resurgence. Cleanliness and disinfection processes of medical equipment near the top of such policies, given they are vectors in HAI transmission. Following are three ways of dealing with infection control on such equipment. 

Dust-Free is a Must 

Dust particles are more than irritations to one’s eyes or lungs. Dust mites (living and dead), construction debris, paint particles, and deadly mold spores like Aspergillus and the Streptococci bacterium, are just some of the particulates composing a typical dust cloud. A single infected particle settling inside of a patient with an open wound, for example, can wreak havoc not only on their recovery but possibly the surrounding patients as well. 

A fanless medical PC can help lessen the spread of dust. Unlike consumer grade machines, which regulate interior temperature by taking air into the computer then expelling it, fanless ones use a heat sink design which dissipates heat within the bowls of the PC itself. No air ﹘ and thus no dust ﹘ is released into the surroundings to spread. This is an important consideration in many hospitals which rely on mobile PC solutions like workstations on wheels when rounding on patients. With fanless PCs, medical staff won’t have to worry about inadvertently transporting deadly pathogens when going from room to room. 

There is another advantage of fanless design. They have no moving parts. Contrast this with the fan in a regular computer, which is composed of numerous moving parts. If that fan fails, the entire machine is rendered useless. Patient care could be affected adversely until the PC is replaced or repaired. 

HAIs Go Beyond Dust Into Microbes

Microbes, like the aforementioned Streptococci, thrive on surfaces especially those that are frequently touched like a medical tablet. While equipment wipe-downs and cleanings seem the obvious solution, such tasks are also time-consuming and labor-intensive. But wouldn’t it be better if microbes couldn’t grow on such surfaces? 

That is the idea behind the antimicrobial properties of medical grade equipment. Such equipment, from a PC unit to the glass of a touchscreen, comes with such compounds baked into the equipment housing itself. There is no need to reapply it, saving on time and resources. 

Also, damage to such housing like cracks could open the way for pathogens to infiltrate and grow. Medical units baked with antimicrobial resin have no such issues, inhibiting bacterial growth even if the unit itself suffers damage.

Spray Directly on the Medical Computer

As mentioned earlier, cleaning and disinfection processes are priorities for hospitals as they reel from COVID-19 cases and the rise of HAI rates. Such processes, unfortunately, can be harsh on equipment like a heart rate monitor or medical cart computer. One sudden flick of the wrist could send a jet of industrial disinfectant into the computer, and a cleaning task is now an expensive problem for IT. 

A medical grade computer with an IP65 rating prevents such a failure point. This means the machine has been tested to withstand direct jets of water from any direction thanks to features such as sealed bezels, which allow staff to clean the IP65-rated equipment more often and more thoroughly.

 

The resurgence of HAIs and the onslaught of COVID-19 has reminded hospitals of the importance of being “clean conscious” at all times. Medical computers with features like a fanless cooling system, antimicrobial properties, and an IP65 rating, add an extra layer of protection for everyone, whether medical staff or patient. 

The experts over at Cybernet would be happy to discuss such features ﹘ and more ﹘ with hospital administrations. Give them a call at (888) 834-4577.