Man & Machine Europe

The 7 Things to Look for in a Medical Grade Keyboard

Standard keyboards in infection critical areas are completely out of place. They harbour bacteria and germs and present a serious infection risk. As a result, more and more hospitals choose medical grade keyboards. But what constitutes a medical grade keyboard? Which criteria do they have to meet? Man & Machine has been manufacturing medical grade keyboards for over 8 years and explains the standards they meet. The key: Just washable is not good enough.

No entrapment areas for germs and bacteria.
A keyboard that has open cavities, gaps or crevices is a place where bacteria colonies can easily develop, even when the keyboard is washable. A medical keyboard has to be free from places where germs and bacteria could collect and grow. This also relates to the underside of the keyboard. Look for a keyboard that is fully sealed, IP68 rated, not a cover that can easily come off. Only then can you be sure that the keyboard can resist a deep clean. Keep in mind that how you install the keyboard can also cause entrapment areas. Velcro® is out of the question. Keyboard drawers or built-in magnets are solutions for a germ free attachment.

A keyboard is a surface area that needs to be disinfectable, so hands touching the surface do not pass on infectious matter. Make sure the keyboard may be cleaned repeatedly with the most effective disinfectants, such as alcohol or bleach solutions. Ask your manufacturer if the keyboard warranty includes cleaning it with your disinfectant.

Disinfectable on the spot.
In order to prevent bacteria from spreading, infectious splatters on the keyboard should be removed right away. Unplugging the keyboard first is not an option, so you need a keyboard that will not cause unintentional data entry which could corrupt patient records. Being able to lock the keyboard during cleaning therefore is a real asset.

The enemy should be visible.
What you can see, you are more likely to deal with. Blood and other body fluids are more easily spotted against a light background. Therefore a white keyboard is recommended.

Electrically safe to use.
The EN60601-1 standard sets out the requirements for medical devices to make sure you can use them safely. Insist on it. Ask for EN60601-1 certification. Only then can you rest assured that your keyboard does not present a current leakage risk, or is any way a work hazard.

Occupationally safe to use.
Electrical safety is not the only matter to be addressed. Also make sure that the keyboard will not shatter and become a sharps hazard if dropped on a hard surface. Ask your manufacturer for drop test results. This is also part of EN60601-1 certification, by the way.

Easy to use.
A keyboard with all the right features is a poor investment if you cannot type on it comfortably. Good tactile feedback is significant because time is precious, accuracy is vital and patient records need to be typed frequently. Make sure the keyboard can be used by the ten finger typist as well as the two finger typist, so to speak.

A medical keyboard that meets the stated criteria can easily be incorporated into existing infection control regimes and go hand in hand with medical grade computer mice. They are used in OR's, patient rooms, nursing stations, ICU's, hospital carts and laboratories and make a real contribution towards fighting the high instances of Hospital Acquired Infection and the extra treatment costs that come with them.

Man & Machine provides high quality medical grade keyboards, mice and accessories which are available in various sizes and in different language layouts. The keyboards and mice meet all requirements mentioned above and have a 10 year warranty.