alexa Use of mobile phones by medical staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados: evidence for both benefit and harm
Microbiology

Microbiology

Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology

Author(s): J Ramesh

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All members of medical staff, including students, were asked to participate in a self-administered questionnaire concerning patterns of mobile phone use and care. Participants' phones were cultured for micro-organisms. Healthcare professionals working in close proximity to sensitive equipment were surveyed concerning adverse events associated with mobile phones. Telephone operators were asked to monitor time elapsed as they attempted to contact medical staff by various methods. Of 266 medical staff and students at the time of the study, 116 completed questionnaires (response rate=44%). Almost all (98%) used mobile phones: 67% used their mobile phones for hospital-related matters; 47% reported using their phone while attending patients. Only 3% reported washing their hands after use and 53% reported never cleaning their phone. In total, 101 mobile phones were cultured for micro-organisms; 45% were culture-positive and 15% grew Gram-negative pathogens. The survey of staff working in close proximity to sensitive equipment revealed only one report of minor interference with life-saving equipment. Telephone operators were able to contact medical staff within 2 min most easily by mobile phone. Mobile phones were used widely by staff and were considered by most participants as a more efficient means of communication. However, microbial contamination is a risk associated with the infrequent cleaning of phones. Hospitals should develop policies to address the hygiene of mobile phones.

This article was published in The Journal of Hospital Infection and referenced in Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology

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