Why Aren’t Stethoscopes Sanitized?
Studies find that basic stethoscope hygiene is rare.
If you found out that doctors rarely washed their hands, you might be hesitant to go to your next appointment. Luckily doctors have fairly good hand hygiene. But stethoscope hygiene is another story, and stethoscopes could pose the same risks as unwashed hands.
A study published by Mayo Clinic proceedings found that stethoscope contamination to parts of the physician’s dominant hand after a single examination. This is even more troubling when you consider that stethoscopes are rarely sanitized. In fact, an AJOIC study reported a stethoscope hygiene rate of zero!
But can stethoscopes really make patients sick? 91% of doctors surveyed in a 2022 study agreed that stethoscopes could be a source of infection. The pathogens found on stethoscopes vary, but two, in particular, should raise the alarm for all hospitals: Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Both bacteria can spread easily and are antibiotic resistant. Getting infected can mean the difference between life and death for vulnerable patients.
So why aren’t stethoscopes sanitized? A lack of awareness is a major reason. While medical education emphasizes hand hygiene, stethoscope hygiene is rarely covered. Another contributing factor is the limited time between appointments. Many sanitizing wipes require lengthy wet times for for full efficacy, which can be upwards of three minutes. Also, missing spots is very common, especially when you’re in a hurry.
You may be wondering if there’s a better solution available. That’s where the Vioguard Cubby Plus comes in. It’s a sanitizing chamber designed for handheld items like stethoscopes. It’s powered by lamps that emit a germicidal wavelength of ultraviolet light, and in just 60 seconds, it eliminates 99.99% of pathogens. And here’s the best part: healthcare professionals can wash their hands while they wait, improving hand hygiene without slowing down workflow.
As awareness of stethoscope hygiene increases, we hope that we can be an important part of the solution. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.