Anyone who’s ever been to the movies knows the modus operandi before the feature presentation begins. Commercials, upcoming movie trailers, exit information, and of course, a reminder to please turn all mobile devices off – all part of the pre-show mix.
According to a new position statement distributed by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), the “turn off” mobile device request may be coming to an OR near you. As the industry begins to fully understand the benefits of mobile device usage for clinical purposes, there are drawbacks to the prevalence of smartphones and tablets in the OR.
For one, bacteria on the device can potentially contaminate the surgical area while the mobile signals can possibly interfere with medical equipment. But an even greater threat could be the social distraction mobile devices provide. While little research has been conducted to determine how large of an issue it is, the growth and expansion of technology, and the welcome distractions it brings, could eventually become a dilemma that needs to be swiftly addressed. Inattentiveness by the clinicians or breach of patient privacy are two big areas of concern that will have key stakeholders closely watching the impact mobile devices have on performance and outcomes.