12. Imaging I.T. Equipment and Infection Control
Much of the equipment provided by Radiology I.T. departments and PACS teams is at risk of contamination due to it being manipulated in the presence of patients or being used by multiple people in high-risk environments.
Due to the sensitive (electronic) nature of the equipment though I.T. teams therefore need to consider issuing cleaning guidance for each piece of equipment they manage.
Manufacturers are best placed to provide guidance, but more generally when answers are not forthcoming:
- Most patient facing equipment in this context (mobile x-ray machines, ceiling mounted x-ray machines, CT scanners etc.) are designed to be wipeable with approved cleaning solutions.
- For screens, keyboards, mice the guidance would be the same as for standard barrier nursing techniques:
- For non-touch screens (standard PC monitors) apply a clear plastic bag over the equipment before coming into contact with it.
- For resistive technology touchscreen monitors (those being the touchscreens which normally work fine with medical gloves on) cover them with a cover plastic bag if they are freestanding (i.e. on their own arm) or use masking tape (not skin tape which leaves residues) to tape a cut square of clear plastic bag over a screen set into the machine;
- For capacitative touchscreen monitors (those needing bare fingers to register a touch) use any cleaning product recommended by the manufacturer as long as it doesn't get too wet.
- For peripherals such as keyboards and mice, use damp (but not wet) cleaning wipes. Waterproof models are sold for immersion and may be useful to consider in high traffic areas.
Monitors are the most commonly damaged piece of Radiology I.T. equipment during cleaning. Most damage is caused by either 1) too much moisture 2) too much scrubbing (e.g. paper towel drying is abrasive to the surface or 3) sharp object penetration (even a fingernail). Monitors cannot ever be sterilised by chlorine agents due to the types of surface used for the display unless they are set in or installed behind a protective sheet of glass etc. (similar to screens on theatre walls are now made).