Health In Focus

Highlights :

  • Alcohol-releasing doorplates could reduce spread of bacterial infections
  • The alcohol gel releasing pads have to be replaced every seven days
  • The doorplates can be a supplement but not a replacement for other hand-sanitizing methods

An alcohol-gel releasing doorplate could help to reduce hospital-acquired infections. A study that evaluated the doorplate was published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.

Hospitals surfaces require regular disinfection since germs from patients often harbor on these surfaces. In the absence of adequate precautions, germs from one patient or a healthcare worker can pass to another. Hospital-acquired infections, called nosocomial infections, are particularly difficult to treat, since the bacteria often showing resistance to usual antibiotics, and significantly add to the cost of treatment. It is also not very pleasant for patients who go to a hospital for the treatment of one condition, and instead come back with an additional infection.
Alcohol-releasing Doorplates to Reduce Surface Contamination

Doorplates in hospitals are a potential source of infection since nearly everyone, patients as well as healthcare workers, who pass through a door touches it with his/her hand. To reduce the chances of contamination, a new type of doorplate has been designed that has a pad covered with a special membrane and releases alcohol gel from a reservoir on slight pressure. The alcohol cleans the surface as well as comes on to the hand. The disposable pad has to be changed every seven days or after thousand uses, whichever is earlier.

Scientists tested the new doorplates to check their effectiveness in reducing hospital-acquired infections.
  • The scientists assessed the bacteria on the middle three fingers of health care workers by randomly asking them to dab their fingers into a bacterial culture medium. Four bacteria were found to be common, S. aureus, E. coli, E. faecalis and C. difficile.
  • Scientists introduced bacteria on the alcohol-releasing doorplates as well as normal aluminum doorplates, and assessed the bacterial counts on days 0, 3, 4, 6 and 7. They found that the alcohol-releasing device significantly reduced the levels of three types of bacteria, S. aureus, E. coli and E. faecalis but not C.difficile. The bacteria showed regrowth by the seventh day, which indicates that the pads need to be replaced every seven days.
Thus, alcohol-releasing doorplates could reduce the spread of hospital-acquired infections. The technology may be useful outside healthcare as well. For example, it could be particularly useful in washrooms or even restaurants, where high levels of hygiene need to be maintained.

The scientists also reiterate that though this method can reduce the spread of infection, there is no substitute for regular methods of hand sanitization in hospitals like the use of alcohol hand dispensers. It would also be necessary to inform users and put instructions regarding the special doorplates, since people may be uncomfortable about the curious liquid coming on to their hands when they try to open a door.


  1. E.L. Best, P. Parnell, M.H. Wilcox. The potential of alcohol release doorplates to reduce surface contamination during hand contact. The Journal of Hospital Infection. DOI:

Source: Medindia

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