Smart Phones Can Dull Even the Sharpest Practitioners

Warnings to motorists of all ages to not “text and drive” may apply just as soundly to medical professionals who answer e-mails and text messages while writing scripts or checking on patient charts.

A case study written for the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and published in December, showed that physicians and medical staff are using smart phones and smart pads in the hospital – even during procedures, and that mistakes attributed to the technology is rising.

“How long did it take to pass laws against texting while driving,” Dr. John Halamka, told Kaiser Health News Service in March. Halamka is the chief information officer for Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“And we had how many people die because they were distracted drivers. There was a lag. I think maybe we’re at that point in health care.

“If you forgot to pick something up at grocery store, it’s an inconvenience,” Halamka said. “If you forgot to stop a blood thinner, it can result in significant harm.”

More information is available on the Web:

Kaiser Health News Service article

AHRQ Case Study

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