CellPhones

First it was the Mayo Clinic, now it's Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) in Singapore who has published a study on the safety of cell phones in hospitals. Phones can be used anywhere in the hospital as long as they're at least 2 meters from a medical device.

TTSH's study found that doctors spend an average of 80 minutes a day
making return calls. Nurses spent between 40 and 200 minutes paging
doctors daily.

Nursing officer Abdul Kahar Sulong, 42, said he used to stand by the phone waiting for a doctor to call back after paging.

'Now, it's easier for the doctors and us,' he told the newspaper.
'Also if there's an emergency, we can call the doctor directly.'

Doctors will be informed automatically when patients' laboratory test results are ready later this year.

In another study published in Anesthesia & Analgesia, investigators showed that using mobile phones actually reduced errors by facilitating improved communications.

Of those anesthesiologists who participated in the survey, 65 percent
reported using pagers as their primary mode of communications and 17
percent said they used cellular telephones. Forty percent of
respondents who use pagers reported delays in communications, compared
to 31 percent of cellular telephone users.

He said the reported 2.4 percent prevalence of electronic interference
with life support devices such as ventilators, intravenous infusion
pumps, and monitoring equipment is much lower than the 14.9 percent
risk of observed medical error or injury due to a delay in
communication.

Interesting statistics. This is the first ever study on the potentially beneficial impact mobile phones have on patient safety. Let's hope more follow soon.