After testing stethoscopes for the presence of active bacteria, researchers in a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings concluded the contamination level of a stethoscope is substantial after a single physical examination. They found the amount of contamination in stethoscopes was comparable to the contamination of parts of the physician's dominant hand. Inconsistent or lack of disinfection of clinicians' personal medical devices can lead to the spread of organisms, which can cause outbreaks of infections within medical facilities.
Clinicians may be unclear on which personal medical devices should be disinfected and the recommended disinfection practices for these devices. To reduce the risk of personal medical devices such as stethoscopes, ophthalmoscopes or otoscopes spreading infection in children's hospitals, the Child Health Patient Safety Organization (PSO) recently published a new patient safety alert, "Disinfection of Clinicians' Personal Medical Devices to Prevent the Spread of Organisms."
Read the alert to learn more about the actions your hospital can take to mitigate risk and review recommended disinfection practices for personal medical devices. The disinfection alert is part of Patient Safety Alert library that informs members and the industry of known risks to children, with the goal of eliminating preventable harm.
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