PhoneSoap should be added to all doctor and visitor lounges at every hospital

PhoneSoapis a box that uses UV light to sterilize your phone. The device also includes a charger, so your phone can multi-task while out of your clutches.

I saw the t-shirts promoting this device at CES 2014 last week, something along the lines of “Your phone is dirty, come clean,” with picture of urine yellow petri dishes full of germs. I was focused on all the germs at the show, so the implications of Phone Soap for healthcare didn’t hit me until later.

PhoneSoap is a box that uses UV light to sterilize your phone. Cleverly, the box includes a charger, so your phone can multi-task while out of your clutches. The company says it takes about 5 minutes to kill all the germs, so the separation anxiety is tolerable.

The company raised $63,478 on a goal of $18,000 in its Kickstarter campaign in May 2012. The device is $50 and comes in white or black.

You may have blocked these particular studies from your mind, but researchers have found scary germs on cell phones carried by doctors and visitors in hospitals. A 2009 study found that 95 percent of the cell phones of doctors and nurses in ORs and intensive care units were contaminated with bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus was found on about one-quarter of the phones and 52 percent were methicillin resistant. A more recent study showed that phones belonging to visitors and patients were not any cleaner. The Doctor Will See You Now explains:

The new study found that visitor and patient phones were considerably more contaminated than those of hospital employees. Roughly 40% of the non-employee phones tested contained disease-causing bacteria, compared to 20% of the employee phones. And the phones of patients and visitors were much more likely to contain multi-drug resistant pathogens than the hospital workers’ phones were.

This 2011 study looked at 200 phones, 133 belonging to patients, their companions and visitors and 67 medical employees’ phones. Swab samples were collected from earphone, keypad and speaker, and these samples were then grown on appropriate culture medium to determine the types of bacteria present on the phones.

The 2011 study was published in the June issue of American Journal of Infection Control. The 2009 study was published in the March 6, 2009 issue of Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials.

It was the 2011 study that inspired the creators of PhoneSoap to build their sanitizer. The company could donate several units to children’s hospitals to help protect patients with the most fragile immune systems.