Do you avoid using your iPhone’s medical apps in the hospital for social reasons?

The other day a physician peer of mine looking frantically through the Harriet Lane handbook to look up the dosing of a common antibiotic for a pediatric patient. I showed them a relatively simple app we have reviewed at iMedicalApps, and told them it helps save me time when writing prescriptions for patients.

The response I received from my physician friend was interesting — “Even though I have an iPhone, I don’t like to pull it out in the Hospital because I’m worried my patients or staff will think I’m playing games or using it for social reasons. When I have a book or manual in my hand, at least people can see what I’m doing”

At first I thought this was an overly cautious concern until I talked to my other peers. Most of them stated this was a legitimate concern, and although it does not prevent most of them from using their smartphone in the medical setting, the thought of giving the wrong impression does cross their mind.

One of my peers went as far to state they make sure they “look very keenly at their phone, hoping to convey deep thought, so others know they aren’t playing Angry Birds”. This was also the most humorous response I received. But their response also provided the crux of the issue — when you’re behind your glass screen, only you know what you are doing.

I’m not certain I know how to avoid giving the wrong impression when using a smartphone in the medical setting.

Obviously, if you are furiously typing on the phone it gives the impression you are texting — but what about the physician or resident who is making a note in their Evernote app about a medical case they just saw. In the business world there are many companies who now give their employees a dedicated business phone secondary to their personal phone.

I don’t think we’ve come to that point in medicine, but it does beg to offer the following two questions:

Do you avoid using your iPhone in the hospital as a reference tool for fear of giving the wrong impression? Is there any way you can make sure you’re not giving the wrong impression?