June 25, 2015 9:35 am

BlackBerry wants to build a bacteria-free smartphone for hospitals

BlackBerry CEO John Chen said he is considering developing a bacteria-free smartphone.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
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TORONTO –BlackBerry may not be doing well in terms of handset sales, but the Canadian smartphone maker is considering building a bacteria-free smartphone in a bid to win over the healthcare sector.

While BlackBerry is not yet working on the phone, CEO John Chen said a bacteria-free would provide health care workers with one less thing to worry about wiping down.

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Chen revealed the idea for the germ-free smartphone Wednesday during a media event at the Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital north of Toronto. The Waterloo, Ont.-based company is partnering with ThoughtWire and Cisco Systems to launch the second phase of an “Innovation Unit” at the hospital.

BlackBerry will provide software and devices to create a clinical notification and alert system for doctors and nurses that will provide more detailed information about their patients.

But a germ-free smartphone would be a valuable tool in a hospital.

Countless studies have looked at how many germs live on devices like smartphones and tablets – some concluding that smartphones harbour more germs than a toilet seat.

According to a University of Surrey study, most of the bacteria found on smartphone is harmless, but researchers admit that occasionally disease causing bacteria, such as “Staphylococcus aureus,” are found.

Doctors’ phones, however, could be exposed to a wider variety of bacteria in a hospital.

Dr. Aviv Gladman, chief medical information officer at Mackenzie Health, said employees are instructed to wipe their phones with alcohol swabs before entering and exiting a patient’s room; however, it’s unclear how effective that is at removing bacteria from the screens.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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