Hospitals can hear you now

Agent 86 would be proud of the following news story. Depending on your age out there in blogland, you'll understand this reference to a great television show from the 1960s.

Anyway, everytime you walk into a hospital, there's a sign at the front door saying "No cell phones." To be honest, everyday I go into my hospital, everybody from docs, to nurses, to staff, to patients, to families -- I see cell phones used all over the hospital. But, I digress...

Hospital policies across the country forbid mobile phones from being used citing possible interference with electronic equipment. A recent study done at the Mayo Clinic states that normal use of cellular phones does NOT cause interference with "patient care equipment." (Reuters)

Dr. David Hayes and colleagues said their tests suggest the ban is unmerited. They tested cell phones using two different technologies from different carriers, switching them on near 192 different medical devices. During 300 tests run over five months, they reported no trouble with the equipment.
So, I'm sure that everyone out there will now take this study to your medical executive committee and/or favorite administrator to get this cell phone ban lifted, right? Sure, I'll get right on that.

Something interesting, as a kind of unintended consequence of all this, is the use of camera phones within the hospital. I'm not so concerned about the phone part as I am the camera part.

I know what you're thinking, "Well, Dr. A, what do hospitals have to hide?" That's not it. I've talked about the litigious society that we live in now. And, people (especially the press) like to take things out of context.

I'm not just talking about taking images of docs, but any person in the hospital who cares for patients - like nurses, aides, physical therapy, techs, dietary - and the list goes on. What would be the full implications if camera phones were actually permitted in hospitals?

The bottom line is this. As far as their use in the hospital, cellular phones have as much chance of interfering with hospital equipment as they do of interfering with airplane equipment on takeoff and landing. HA! Can you hear me now? YES!