Unshod balance assessment on a single-tile Stepscan system

Given current global healthcare concerns and the heightened need for cleanliness in healthcare facilities, here is a reminder for how to quickly, safely, and effectively disinfect your Stepscan system.

The Anatomy of Your Stepscan System

The Stepscan system is a medical grade measurement device that provides researchers and clinicians with objective measurements of mobility including balance and sway. The Stepscan tiles house several electronic components that together coordinate tile functions and server requests, scan pressure sensors to form pressure images, and transfer data to the software.

The contact layer, or top layer, is medical grade rubber flooring material produced by Mondo International. This layer protects the electronic components and comes into contact with users/patients’ feet. Whether or not you are assessing shod or unshod patients, it is good practice to clean the contact layer of the Stepscan tiles regularly.

Unshod Balance Assessment on a Stepscan Single-Tile System

Stepscan tile being used for an unshod balance assessment.

Disinfecting Your Stepscan System

Follow these three steps to safely and effectively disinfect your Stepscan system:

Step 1: Turn Off the System

As stated above, Stepscan floor tiles contain electronic parts so disinfecting the tiles should always be done in a way that maintains the integrity of the equipment.

Start by powering down your Stepscan system entirely. This will help to protect you and the system.

If your system has more than one tile, there is no need to disassemble the system. There is also no need to remove the tile surface. Do not disassemble Stepscan tiles.

Step 2: Mix the Cleaning Agent

You should only use disinfectants approved in Section 15.0, ‘Cleaning Instructions’, of the Stepscan User Manual.

Option 1 is a mixture of vinegar and water. This is best for routine cleaning. Add one part vinegar to fifteen parts water in a spray bottle. Label the bottle with a date and remember to change it regularly to ensure efficacy.

Vinegar Cleaner Recipe Graphic – 1 Part Vinegar to 15 Parts Water

Vinegar Disinfectant Recipe – 1 Part vinegar to 15 parts water

Option 2 for disinfecting your Stepscan system is to use 70% isopropyl alcohol. A 70% ethanol or isopropanol solution is made by adding three parts water to seven parts 95% ethanol (or isopropanol). These solutions should be labeled and dated as well.

70% Isopropyl Alcohol Cleaner Recipe Graphic – 7 Parts Alcohol to 3 Parts Water

70% Isopropyl Alcohol Cleaner Recipe Graphic – 7 parts alcohol to 3 parts water

It should be noted that there is a difference between the kill efficacies of isopropanol and ethanol for some pathogens. Ethanol has broad virucidal properties, whereas isopropanol can be more effective in killing noroviruses. Higher concentrations of either alcohol can be less effective than a 60-90% solution, depending on the organism. Be aware of your facility’s practices and consult an expert if you are unsure.

Never use any unapproved disinfectants to clean Stepscan tile surfaces.

Step 3: Wipe the Tiles

To clean your Stepscan tiles, spray a liberal amount of cleaning solution onto a fresh cleaning cloth. Do not pour the cleaning agent directly onto the Stepscan tiles.

It is important to remember that Stepscan floor tiles are not waterproof. The electrical components of your Stepscan system should never get wet so use an appropriate amount of cleaning solution and do not allow cleaning liquid to run into the edges of the tiles.

Applying light pressure, wipe the tile surface, evenly distributing the solution on the tile. There is no need to overwork or apply excessive pressure. Be aware that alcohol-based cleaning solutions require contact times of a minute or more.

Repeat Step 3 for each of your Stepscan tiles.

Multi-tile Stepscan system at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre

Multi-tile Stepscan system at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, Ontario, Canada

Still have questions about your Stepscan system? Never hesitate to ask. You can call us toll free at 1-833-552-4248 (GAIT) or email us at support@stepscan.com.

Not yet a Stepscan user? We understand that during this pandemic, budgets are tight and priorities have shifted. Still, we are always happy to discuss Stepscan’s capabilities. Email us at sales@stepscan.com to get in touch with one of our Product Specialists, or contact us here.

Additional Resources

For the most detailed information regarding operating instructions and safety requirements, all users of the Stepscan system should refer to their User Manual. The full step-by-step cleaning process can be found in section 15.0 ‘Cleaning Instructions’.

For more information about COVID-19 precautions and appropriate disinfecting methods for individuals and medical facilities, visit the links below.

COVID-19 Resources:

World Health Organization (WHO) – Getting Workplace Ready

World Health Organization (WHO) – Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Technical Guidance: Infection Prevention and Control

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Detailed Household Disinfection Guidance

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Recommended Precautions for People in Non-Healthcare Environments

Government of Canada – COVID-19 Prevention and Risks

Government of Canada – Practices and Precautions for Preventing Transmission in Healthcare Settings

Government of Canada – Additional Guidance Documents re: COVID-19

About Patrick Connor

Patrick holds a bachelor’s in computer engineering and master’s in electrical engineering from the University of New Brunswick and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Dalhousie University. His research interests include gait biometrics, pattern recognition, computational linguistics and computational neuroscience. Prior to doctoral studies, Patrick worked as a software developer for 5 years in private industry. After his studies, Patrick joined Stepscan Technologies as a postdoctoral fellow to investigate the use of the Stepscan underfoot pressure sensing technology for security applications. He currently serves as Research and Development Lead with the company.

Leave a Comment