Efficacy of a bioburden reduction intervention on mobile phones of critical care nurses


      • Mobile phones have become an extension of our hands; why don't we disinfect phones more often?
      • Mobile phones have been cited as a risk for infectious disease transmission in patient care areas.
      • Nurses’ mobile phones enter patient care areas, but routine disinfection protocols do not exist.
      • This article describes a multimodal intervention to reduce infectious disease transmission.
      • The intervention achieved low-level disinfection of mobile phones in a critical care unit.


      Current literature identifies mobile phones of staff as potential vectors for hospital-acquired infection.


      A pre-post, quasi-experimental study was conducted in a 20 bed intensive care unit (ICU). Surface bioburden of personal and shared mobile phones was estimated with a luminometer, expressed in Relative Light Units (RLU). Effects of a simple sanitizing wipe-based disinfection routine were measured at baseline, and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after implementation of the disinfection routine.


      Personal mobile phones and shared phones of 30 on-shift ICU nurses were analyzed at each collection. RLUs for personal phones decreased from baseline to 12 months post-intervention (Geometric mean 497.1 vs 63.36 RLU; adj P < .001), while shared unit phones also demonstrated a decrease from baseline to 12 months post-intervention (Geometric mean 417.4 vs 45.90 RLU; adj P < .001).


      No recommended practice yet exists for disinfection of mobile phones in the acute care setting. The disinfection method and routine used in this study may have implications for use in acute care settings to reduce opportunities for infectious disease transmission.

      Graphical abstract


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