March 27, 2012
Hospitals Warn Smartphones Could Distract Doctors
Apple's iPads and rival devices are finding a happy home in hospitals and medical practices. But as with driving, distractions are threatening safety — in this case, patient safety. NPR reports.
... Most of 1,000 iPads and 1,600 iPhones at Beth Israel are owned by the doctors themselves. That makes it hard for the hospital to dictate which apps they can have on their devices. In a recent survey, 55 percent of medical technicians nationwide said they used their cell phones during procedures and nearly half admitted texting.
As Doctors Use More Devices, Potential for Distraction Grows (NY Times, Dec 2011)
Research on the subject is beginning to emerge. A peer-reviewed survey of 439 medical technicians published this year in Perfusion, a journal about cardio-pulmonary bypass surgery, found that 55 percent of technicians who monitor bypass machines acknowledged to researchers that they had talked on cellphones during heart surgery. Half said they had texted while in surgery.
About 40 percent said they believed talking on the phone during surgery to be “always an unsafe practice.” About half said the same about texting. The study’s authors concluded, “Such distractions have the potential to be disastrous.”
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