By Tim Bredrup

Advancements in mobile technology has the potential to influence healthcare in many ways.  However, not all of these ways are positive.  The digital innovation we’ve seen in devices  such as smart phones and tablets have the potential to distract health care professionals on the job, and possibly leading to an increase in malpractice.  A recent New York Times article revealed clinicians are sometimes using their mobile devices for personal matters while on the clock — a phenomenon now coined as “distracted doctoring”.

In a study published in the journal Perfusion, 439 medical technicians who perform cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) were surveyed.  55% of them reported using a cell phone during CPB, and 49% admitted to sending text messages.  Those with smart phones admitted to further use during CPB; 21% checked their email, 15% used the internet, and 3% posted on social networking sites.  78% of the surveyed population expressed concern that cell phones pose a potential significant patient safety risk. 

 original article by Ann W. Latner, JD