Image Source: @ [farizun amrod] / Adobe Stock
In other words, modern medical manufacturing innovations like (1) antimicrobial surface treatments, (2) the ability to thoroughly disinfect at a swipe, and (3) well-designed HMI have never been more important in healthcare environments than they are right now. Not all medical equipment is equally effective or safe to use. Particularly in the middle of a public health crisis, medical manufacturers, suppliers, and vendors need to carefully consider how to build medical machines that will prove equally adept at facilitating patient care and keeping everyone safe from exposure to dangerous pathogens.
That’s partly because the Coronavirus seems to have a fairly long lifespan on surfaces. According to Harvard Medical School, “Recent studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus may remain on surfaces or objects for up to 72 hours.”
That is intolerable in a healthcare setting, where the surfaces of medical equipment and their input devices (keypads, membrane switches, touchscreens, etc.) may be exposed to numerous individuals, both infected and not infected. To avoid those devices from becoming a vector for transmission, it’s crucial that they remain hygienic.
The first step is incorporating antimicrobial properties into the input devices of medical equipment itself.
As we’ve previously written:
“On the first point, incorporating an antimicrobial film into the device’s surface preparation can limit or eliminate the ability of germs to propagate on the equipment in the first place. Specifically, a substance like nano-sized silver ion particles can be integrated into the hard-structured coating, where it penetrates cell walls and interferes with the ability of microorganisms to grow and reproduce.”
In short, antimicrobial surface treatments can help fight contagion and reduce the transmission of microbes.
The second step is making sure the medical equipment is designed with sanitation in mind.
Consider trying to disinfect an object with numerous nooks and crannies, as well as points of ingress into the electronics within. It’s time-consuming and risky and limits the types of cleaning agents that can be used. Instead, an object with a flat, fully sealed surface can simply be wiped down. Further, the materials used must be resistant to harsh cleaning agents to facilitate thorough and fast sanitizing.
That last point alludes to the third step in designing and building medical equipment that performs well in the midst of a pandemic: a user-friendly design.
But it goes farther than just being easy to clean; it also has to be easy to use. Care providers need to be able to complete their tasks using the equipment quickly and understand the readings immediately. Poorly designed human-machine interfaces will slow down the care process, reducing overall capacity of care providers to see more patients, and could lead to unintended medical errors. Medical equipment and medical devices need to be built with healthcare settings in mind.
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Critical components for high-quality medical equipment is a specialty at Hoffmann + Krippner. For more information about Hoffmann + Krippner’s COVID-19 preparations and our production capabilities, read our most recent statement and follow news as it updates here. For more information or for answers to specific questions, contact us here.
Technical wordsmith and guest blogger for Hoffmann + Krippner.