Investigation into the cleaning methods of smartphones and wearables from infectious contamination in a patient care environment (I-SWIPE)

Published:November 07, 2019DOI:


      • Use of smartphones and wearable devices are common in clinical hospital practice.
      • Hospital-provided disinfectant wipes are not recommended for use on smartphones.
      • This real-world trial evaluated bacterial counts on clinician devices pre and post UV-C.
      • UV-C is effective in eliminating bacteria from smartphones and wearable devices.
      • UV-C implementation supports the use of wearable and mobile technology in practice.


      Many health care workers are using smartphones and wearable devices without an enforced cleaning standard to prevent the spread of bacteria to patients. To our knowledge, no real-world trials have been performed to date, examining bacterial elimination on these devices in a hospital setting. The primary objective was to determine if ultraviolet wavelength C (UV-C) was more effective at eliminating bacteria on smartphones and wearable devices when compared with usual care.


      This prospective before-and-after study included clinicians who used smartphones or wearable devices during their daily clinical practice. Devices underwent two 30-second UV-C disinfection cycles, at the beginning and end of clinician shifts. Swabs were collected at predetermined intervals both prior to and following a UV-C disinfection cycle to determine the extent of bacterial growth.


      Following a run-in period of twice-daily UV-C disinfection, 20% of devices grew pathogenic bacteria prior to UV-C use. Comparatively, only 4% of devices grew bacteria post-UV-C; therefore, the decrease in bacterial growth was statistically significant (P = .002).


      UV-C appears to be more effective at eliminating bacteria on smartphones and wearable devices when compared with usual care and is a useful disinfection device in a hospital setting. Further studies are needed to determine the interval at which UV-C should be used to prevent bacterial growth and spread.

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