Data Entry and Infection control

Infection control in the dental operatory is an important factor that deservedly gets a great deal of attention. However, how much thought have you given to how your keyboard and mouse may be contributing to the spread of infection? The answer is usually 'not enough'. Here are some simple new options that can help.

In my search for data entry solutions for the dental operatory, I came across a number of offerings. Here i will review my 2 favourite solutions. These are my favourite because they cater to 2 different types of users and do so with a high level of quality and value. I feel that with these choices, any user can find an affordable solution that will work for them.  Each of these systems was tested by myself for 1 week.

 [Cleankeys Acrylic]    [Cleankeys Glass]    [Slimcool]

CleanKeys Wireless Glass Keyboard with Touchpad


The Cleankeys glass model is made of a Corian base and a glass top. It is completely flat. Sterilization is as simple as spray and wipe. What this means is that you don't feel the keys. If you have ever used a keyboard on a touchscreen, you will be familiar with this. I was expecting it to be very difficult to use. I was pleasantly suprised to find that after a few adjustments, I was able to type at a good pace. Make no mistake, this is not for high speed or high volume typing. Having worked with many people in many offices, I can see this being a good fit in most cases. The keyboard is also mountable, which is a plus.

Now onto the touchpad. I was very happy that the cleankeys had a touchpad integrated - as this is the optimal solution for the dental operatory. For those not familiar with the touchpad, it is a substitute for a mouse.  The total desk space required for this vs a keyboard and mouse combo is very favourable. I was also very happy that the touchpad performance exceeded my expecations as it was very smooth and accurate.

This keyboard is not available in stores but can be purchased through The Bridge Network. For specs, please see the cleankeys website

Pros
Sterilizes incredibly fast
can be mounted
Keyboard and touchpad
Can be used wirelessly or wired

Cons
Lack of tactile feedback may be a problem for high-speed typists who rely on touch.

Verdict: This is the ideal system for the dental environment and its design is brilliant. The integrated touchpad makes the total footprint smaller than other solutions. However, if you are a a high-speed typist you might want to try it out first to be sure its for you.


CleanKeys Wireless Acrylic Keyboard with Touchpad

 

The Cleankeys acrylic model has the same easy sterilization benefits of the glass model. It also uses the same touchpad which we loved. The key benefit of the acrylic model is its 'key wells' - shallow depressions in the acrylic material to allow you to feel the keys. So unlike the glass version, you can easily type on this keyboard without having to look at it. Additionally, it has a 'tap-typing' feature with adjustable sensitivity which allows you to rest your fingers on the keys without accidentally registering key-strokes. This means that the acrylic model provides a more familiar feel for experienced users. Despite the key-wells, it is still not be as fast as compared to a typical keyboard. This will only be a factor for high-speed, high volume typing, which is really not the target user for this type of device. We feel that this should not be a problem if you have set up your software properly to use things like auto-phrases and custom forms which save countless keystrokes.

Pros
Sterilizes incredibly fast, but not quite as easily as the glass version.
'Key-Wells' allow users to feel keys and typing without looking.
can be mounted
Keyboard and touchpad
Can be used wirelessly or wired

Cons
Takes a little getting used to the key wells.

Verdict: This is our favourite solution. The ability to go wired or wireless, ease of sterilization and performance provide a solution that can suit a wide variety of users. If you take sterilization seriously, Cleankeys is for you.



ReallyCool Touch Keyboard with TouchPad


The ReallyCool Touch keyboard is fully sealed and washable. This means it can be submersed in water or you can spray it down and wipe it. It is not flat - it has actual keys. This means that disinfecting it is going to take a bit more time than a completely flat keyboard like the cleankeys or the laser keyboard. On the up side, this also means that the SlimCool provides the most familiar typing experience. If you are a fast typist who does not need to look at the keyboard when typing, this keyboard will perform at a level that you will be very happy with. It took me almost no time to adapt to and I was typing at probably 95% of my normal speed - which is probably faster than the vast majority of users in a dental office. This keyboard is not available in stores but can be purchased through The Bridge Network.

Pros

  • Most familiar feel, no learning curve
  • High performance for people who type fast
  • Full sealed, full submersible
  • Keyboard requires little desk space

Cons

  • Not yet available in wireless version.

Verdict: If you are very fast on the keyboard, you wont be disappointed.

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