When you consider the decontamination procedures for high-tech equipment, including computers, digital imaging equipment, and intraoral cameras, first and foremost, you should follow the manufacturer’s directions. This provides the best results with the least damage to the equipment.
In its Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings – 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that if items or surfaces likely to become contaminated are difficult to clean and disinfect, they should be protected with disposable impervious barriers. Computer equipment in operatories is considered to be a clinical contact surface likely to become contaminated.
Since liquid surface disinfectants could prove harmful to computer equipment, the proper management is to prevent contamination from occurring by either placing the computer in a location where it will not become contaminated or using impervious barriers such as plastic shields.
Barriers for computer equipment can be either reusable or disposable. Disposable barriers must be changed between patients; reusable barriers must be cleaned and disinfected between patients. And don’t forget good hygiene; before touching any office equipment, make sure hands are clean.
Computer equipment unlikely to be touched during treatment, such as the hard drive or monitor, should be placed in a location where it won’t become contaminated or should be protected with a clear barrier shield.
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