Sterilization Devices for High Touch, Multi-User Electronic and Computing Input Devices
Infectious and deadly bacteria and viruses in hotels, hospitals, schools, call centers and all types of public places are the target of SteriDesign Corporation's new line of patent-pending high sterilization devices:
- SteriBox: Sterilizes handheld consumer devices like remote controls, mobile phones, landline phones, tablets and mobile players.
- SteriHood: Sterilizes keyboards and mice.
Shared use and multi-user, high touch electronic devices are hot spots for cleanliness and contamination concerns.
"Everyone is on high alert to avoid and control harmful bacteria and viruses but they are facing a difficult problem," said Dr. John Gill, vice president of technology for SteriDesign. "How do we effectively and efficiently kill the microorganisms that exist on extremely difficult to clean, high touch electronic device surfaces which help to transfer and proliferate these organisms from person to person?"
Dr. Gill points out that "chemicals are used to clean most surfaces in public and shared use facilities, but some electronic devices are not designed for cleaning with a liquid, much less chemicals. Also, more and more institutions are trying to reduce their use of chemicals as they seek to be green or environmentally friendly."
"In today's difficult economic environment, the cost of any new solution is a pressing concern," stated Dr. Gill. "Hotels, hospitals and schools are all under strict budgetary constraints and, with both SteriHood and SteriBox available for less than $100, everyone can get the full benefits of a convenient and effective sterilization solution affordably."
Hospitals and Healthcare Providers
The fourth leading cause of death in the United States each year results from Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) - more than breast cancer, AIDS, and car accidents combined. Hospitals and healthcare providers are locked in an ongoing struggle against HAIs which impact over 1.7 million patients in the U.S. each year, especially multi-drug resistant organism (MDRO) based infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Similar infections are also on the rise in community settings, as the number of MDROs found in public settings each year continues to grow. A decade ago, in 2003, a CDC prospective study suggested that 12 percent of clinical MRSA infections are community-associated, either being contracted at schools, work or community housing, with as many as 98,000 dying each year as a result of these infections.
To kill the most resistant forms of bacteria and viruses including antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA, C-Diff and e-coli, SteriBox and SteriHood harness the power of a technology developed in the 1930s which has been in place for years, cleaning air, water and surfaces. Ultra violet light (UV-C) is an energy saving, low power, short UV-C wavelength of light proven safe, cost efficient, environmental friendly, and easy to use. Ultraviolet rays within the UV-C wavelength destroy pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, mold and mildew. The microorganisms' DNA is damaged causing death of the organism, so no resistance can develop. While UV-C sterilizations' effect and capability have been known for over 80 years, it has proven difficult to develop innovative product designs that are easy to use and cost effective.
Independent lab testing completed at one of the largest microbiology labs in the USA, EMSL Inc., confirms the SteriDesign SteriHood and SteriBox products actively kill the most difficult-to-kill bacteria and viruses found on shared-use multi-touch electronic device surfaces to 99.999 percent effectiveness within 5 minutes.
In the healthcare environment, SteriBox and SteriHood are used in any place where remote controls and keyboards are used, whenever they wish to keep these devices clean. When installed in a patients' room, SteriBox makes it convenient for patients to drop in their remote control, hospital room corded or cordless phone, and their own personal mobile devices. In the current healthcare system, even though patients, guests, family members, doctors, nurses and others around the patient touch these devices during a patient stay, these devices are only cleaned between patient stays. The same is true for keyboards in the hospital. Nurses and doctors are constantly touching the keyboards and, in many cases, the hospitals have no official cleaning program for the keyboards. If they do, it is done once a week at best. Dr. Gill points out; "This is where SteriDesign and its SteriBox and SteriHood products are an optimal solution to keep shared-device surfaces, multiple-people touch, ster ilized every day, all day."
SteriBox's innovative design allows for two high output UV bulbs to be positioned on both sides of any device for complete 360 degree sterilization of remote controls and other electronic devices. The EMSL testing of SteriBox validates that the SteriDesign product cleans tough-to-clean three-dimensional surfaces on all surfaces - front, back, sides, top and bottom. The fully vacuum metalized interior surface of the SteriBox ensures that all light rays are propagated around the interior of the box for the greatest leverage of the UV-C technology. SteriBox easily stores and sterilizes cell phones, remote controls, cordless phones, keys and other personal multi-touch devices. SteriBox's design enables easy maintenance through removable and recyclable UV-C light trays, and it features a convenient AC-power outlet, allowing users to recharge mobile phones while they are being cleaned.
At nurse stations and on nurse carts, SteriHood's design enables it to be used with any legacy keyboard. When nurses or doctors have completed a task at a keyboard, they just pull the SteriHood cover up and out over the keyboard, and the 5-minute sterilization cycle begins; all surfaces of the keyboard will be sterilized to 99.999 percent within 5 minutes. If a keyboard is needed before the 5-minute cycle is complete, lifting the SteriHood cover provides immediate access to it; an auto shut-off switch immediately shuts the system down, which restarts again when the cover is closed.
A red LED is built into SteriHood to notify the users of the product when their keyboard needs to be cleaned and when the SteriHood bulb needs to be changed. If a keyboard has not been cleaned in any one-hour time period, the LED on the front of SteriHood will blink red. When the SteriHood UV-C bulb has been through its allotted number of cycles, the LED will be on continuous bright red, advising users that it is time to replace the bulb, approximately two years after initial use.
Heightened awareness of bacteria and germs compels many hotel guests to rate a hotel first and foremost based on their perception of facilities' cleanliness. In a USA Today survey, 1,000 people were asked, "When selecting a hotel, which of the following is most important to you: Location? Cleanliness? Security? Rate?" Only one answer received more than 40 percent of the votes: cleanliness.
According to a study performed by SELF magazine, over 25 percent of people polled will not directly touch the remote control or phone in their hotel room.
For less than $0.035 per new guest check-in in a typical 200-room hotel, total per guest cost for SteriBox and its complementary SteriBag program is the lowest possible cost for enabling an active sterilization solution for small electronics devices in hotel rooms on the market.
Hotel housekeeping staff utilize SteriBox to clean remote controls, phones and other small electronic devices found in hotel rooms, with the primary target remote controls known to house high levels of bacteria. Remote controls are put through a 5-minute SteriBox cycle; the devices are 99.999 percent sterilized on all surfaces and then placed into a SteriBag polybag, assuring hotel guests that the remote has been sterilized without the use of chemicals and safe to handle, eliminating concern about harmful bacteria or chemical residue from any wet cleaning agent.
SteriHood and SteriBox are an ideal alternative to chemical spray cans which require a greater investment in handling and stocking, are ineffective at reaching all surfaces of keyboards and remotes, and leave a chemical residue.
Another major alternative solution for cleaning keyboards and remote controls is the use of membrane keypads which can be cleaned using chemicals. To achieve a similar sterilization rate for these keypads, they must be wet down with chemical cleaners and be kept wet for four minutes or more to achieve real sterilization - a timely and cumbersome process which typically is not followed by the cleaning staff; real life effectiveness is poor. Membrane keypads/keyboards are also very difficult to use because they have no travel on their keys, so users do not type from a home key position. Membrane keypads/keyboards also cannot be designed with backlighting, a highly desirable feature for new keyboards and remote controls.
Anti-Microbial Additives to Plastics
Alternative technologies such as anti-microbial additives for plastics do not provide immediate sterilization for remote controls, keyboards or other electronic plastic devices. Evidence of this is found in the testing which is performed by the anti-microbial additive companies. Their cycle times range between 6 and 24 hours for their testing. For the silver and copper additives which are most commonly used in anti-microbial plastics today, test results show that it takes 24 hours or more for bacteria and viruses to be killed when these come in contact with a remote control or keyboard which has been produced with anti-microbial plastics - far longer than the turn time from one guest to the next within a hotel or hospital room, which is typically less than 8 hours. "Time, of course, is short supply in hospitals and healthcare environments - 8 hours of dwell time for C-DIFF on a keyboard can be the difference between life and death," added Dr. Gill.
Both SteriHood and SteriBox are available now for testing, evaluation and purchase. Additional technical details and information can be found at http://www.steridesign.com.