Smartphones make Top 10 Health Tech Hazards List | The Ethical Nag

Not sure how widespread smartphone use for personal reasons during medical procedures is (never run across it personally), but ‘where there is smoke, there is fire.’ Would strike me fairly simple to have operating rooms smartphone-free zones and the like, if common sense is not that common.

My question is this: why would it even be remotely necessary for a professional organization to issue a no-brainer directive like this to otherwise intelligent, educated health care professionals?

I guess it’s because it’s just so hard to keep up with Level 19 on Tetris when that stupid patient needs your attention, isn’t it?

During a conference speech in Munich last summer, German Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen echoed these questions when she called smartphones “the terrorist in your pocket.”

“You are always present. You are always reachable. You are always online. Use your devices, but don’t let them dominate your life, and defend your right to be offline.”

One might also add that patients may now need to defend their own right to safe and focused medical attention during all health care procedures.

Smartphones make Top 10 Health Tech Hazards List | The Ethical Nag.


3 thoughts on “Smartphones make Top 10 Health Tech Hazards List | The Ethical Nag

  1. Hi Andrew and thanks so much for reposting links to my Ethical Nag article here. I too am not sure how widespread cellphone use is during medical procedures, but I suspect it is far more than what we patients could even imagine.

    For example, Dr. Trevor Smith’s study of open heart surgery O.R.s found that over half of respondents had admitted being distracted with phone/text during coronary-pulmonary bypass surgery. That’s a staggering finding. More on this at: “Distracted Doctoring: Updating Your Facebook Status in the OR” –

    • This really is frightening. Perhaps all patients should ask, in the pre-op consultation, what is your policy about smartphones in the OR? And if not satisfied with the answer, let them and the hospital know.

  2. That would be a wise thing to do. However, given how reluctant patients are to even ask their doctors if they’ve washed their hands before touching the patient’s body, this might be a hard thing to do. But honestly – we have to do SOMETHING about this disturbing trend in health care.

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