The smartphones used by doctors are a source of hospital infections and can spread the MRSA and other viruses, according to a study published in medical magazine Medisch Contact.
Research shows eight in 10 doctors have a smartphone and 57% use them during contact with patients. At the same time, smartphones are carried everywhere, including to places with poor hygiene.
‘They are not disinfected and can therefore be a source of bacteria,’ research student Stijn Voeten of the VU medical centre, told the magazine.
Voeten compared eight different studies in which 989 smartphones were analysed for bacteria. Between 43% and 95% were found to have bacteria originating in a hospital. Five studies found phones carrying resistant bacteria.
Hospital staff are banned from wearing watches, rings and long sleeves because of the hygiene risks.
Banning smartphones is not an option because they have become an essential part of doctors’ work. Instead, hygiene should be improved and the phones can also be covered with a protective seal which can be disinfected, Voeten said.
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