Mobile Technologies and Medical Errors

Recently, the NY Times published a story about the dangers of physicians’ use of mobile technology such as cell phones, laptop computers, and tablets while engaged in the practice of medicine. Yesterday, the Clinical Advisor commented on the Times’ article and provided some harrowing examples of its own. For instance, “In a study published in the journal Perfusion, researchers surveyed 439 medical technicians who perform cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). They found that more than 55% admitted to using a cell phone and 49% reported sending text messages during CPB. Among participants with smart phone features, 21% admitted to checking email, 15% used the internet and 3% posted on social networking sites during CPB. Despite the fact that some of the respondents may have engaged in these behaviors, more than 78% expressed concern that cell phones pose a potentially significant patient safety risk.
In another news report, a patient was left partially paralyzed after a distracted neurosurgeon used a wireless headset to make at least ten personal calls to friends and business associates during the procedure.