Sterile iPad sleeve may replace workarounds

A new, disposable sleeve for the iPad--to ensure it's sterile before it enters the OR--may replace the now-ubiquitous workaround of inserting the iPad into an X-ray cassette sterile bag.

The new product from EchoMedical and Protek Medical--a sterile iPad sleeve--is getting positive responses from reviewers at iMedicalApps. Physician Felasfa Wodajo, one of the original proponents of the X-ray cassette-bag solution, says the sleeve slips easily onto the tablet, and is relatively simple for OR techs to secure.

Says Wodajo: "While no medical device or sterile barrier can guarantee sterility if improperly used, this device appears to satisfy regulatory requirements for sterile barriers and, when used with an iPad that has been appropriately cleansed, should satisfy most hospitals' requirements for operating room use."

One issue he doesn't address--and we'd like to hear from readers who try the new sleeves--is whether the iPad's performance is affected by the barrier layer. Wodajo did indicate the X-ray cassette-bag allowed him to operate his iPad normally, but didn't comment on the issue for the new disposable sleeves.

We're also wondering how the new sleeve might stack up against Frog Skin, a waterproof barrier for iPads that allows physicians to use the device essentially the same way as without the barrier, according to Beth Israel Deaconess CIO John Halamka's comments on the technology last year.

Another question: Will the cleaning procedure for the iPad itself affect the sleeve's effectiveness on days when it's used during multiple procedures? Wodajo says he cleaned his iPad with fast-drying solution, and felt comfortable with its level of sterility. But he didn't indicate he conducted series testing to see if bacterial infiltration might change after multiple clinicians use--and clean--the device between surgeries.

To learn more:
- read the iMedicalApps review
- check out OrthoStreams' commentary on the X-ray bag solution

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