Weapons of Mass Distraction: Should Personal Electronic Devices Be Restricted or Banned?

August 2, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​To get the best return on investment, interventions regarding distractions in the anesthesia work environment should focus on restricting the use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) through policy or culture changes, according to a report from the 2016 Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation conference. Published in the July 2017 issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, the presentation described five types of distractions that can occur in a perioperative setting. They are: those related to patient care, such as unpredictable breaks in care continuity; those related to technology, such as tasks related to the electronic health record; distractions related to noise and alarms; those stemming from interpersonal dynamics; and self-induced distractions, such as those caused by mobile phones and other PEDs. The 81 physicians, 10 nurse anesthetists, 4 PhDs, 2 anesthesia assistants, 2 nurses, 1 pharmacist, 1 lawyer, and 10 other stakeholders were presented with statements about distractions and asked whether they agreed.

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