BlackBerry may have plans to design a bacteria-free smartphone in a bid to facilitate the health-care industry with more options in terms of secure mobile, says a report from BNN. Such a plan should be no surprise, as time and again, BlackBerry CEO John Chen has expressed a commitment to the firm’s hardware division.

BlackBerry Ltd May Have Plans To Develop Bacteria-Free Phones

What’s the need for a bacteria-free phone?

On Wednesday, Blackberry unveiled a clinical alerts pilot project at a hospital in Toronto. During the event, Chen noted that with a bacteria-free phone, “Health-care workers have to be worried about one less thing to wipe down.” However, Chen clarified that the Canadian firm is not working on the phone yet.

Aviv Gladman, the chief medical information officer at regional healthcare provider Mackenzie, says that it is a matter of great concern to prevent patients from transferring bacteria and infection. Gladman stated that medical equipment in patient rooms, including mobile phones, can spread bacteria through the hospital.

According to Gladman, hospital-acquired infections are the one of the biggest reasons for patient deaths, so all the staff are supposed to sterilize their phones with alcohol every time before entering or exiting a patient’s room. According to a study from the Journal of Applied Microbiology, 20% to 30% of germs transfer between a phone and a fingertip.

Suggesting the importance of a bacteria free phone, Gladman noted that hospitals are not clear on whether or not the alcohol wipes are effective in lowering or removing bacteria from the phones, adding medical professionals do not always use a wipe, says the BNN report.

BlackBerry working on Android phone?

On Wednesday, Chen made an announcement of a partnership with Cisco and ThoughWire at the Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital. The trio will facilitate the hospital staff with a portable messaging and alert system, and BlackBerry will be responsible for providing the software.

The news of a bacteria-free phone comes a day after Chen confirmed that BlackBerry may develop an Android phone provided the phone is secure enough. During an interview with CNBC, Chen said that BlackBerry only produces secure phones, “So, if I can find a way to secure the Android phone, I will also build that.”

Of late, there have been rumors that BlackBerry is already working on an Android phone, dubbed Prague. Based on the report, the device will be low-end and all-touch.