Articles Discuss Pros and Cons of Using Mobile Devices in Patient Care Environments

February 20, 2013 | Risk Management News

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Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices have the potential to improve healthcare for patients and providers but raise a variety of issues related to infection control, privacy and security, device management, and the impact on nurse/patient interaction, states an article published in the February 2013 issue of the Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing. For example, to enhance a patient’s experience, he or she could receive a tablet that provides the organization’s bill of rights information or preoperative instructional videos automatically selected based on the listed surgical procedure. The same device could also alert the patient and his or her family to delays using real-time information from the surgical tracking software or improve satisfaction during wait times by offering magazines, books, and movies. According to the article, studies have shown that equipment used in surgical and perianesthesia environments, such as electrocardiogram cables, laryngoscope handles, and keyboards, may actually be vectors for infection. The author suggests that current cleaning practices for patient care equipment may inform how mobile devices might be handled; however, he cautions that mobile devices are more sensitive and may not survive the dozens of cleanings per day that would be needed between patient or provider exposures.

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