Protect against fatal smartphone distractions

With the proliferation of personal tech tools entering the workplace comes the merging of personal and professional devices, especially smartphones. The trend could lead to potentially fatal mistakes.

"The great danger lies in the fact that human beings simply don't notice small and incremental changes (Human Adaptability Theory)," wrote healthcare consultant Kathleen Bartholomew in Hospital Impact. Over time, hospitals may overlook the use of cell phones in the operating room for special circumstances (such as a call about a sick child or closing on a house) until one day, a fatal error occurs as a result of the distraction. Bartholomew stressed that hospitals need to develop policies, and, more importantly, enforce them.

At Evansville, Ind.-based Deaconess Health System, the cell phone use policy boils down to the honor system, Chief Medical Information Officer Greg Hindahl told FierceMobileHealthcare. "Use it for work-related things while you're clocked in and personal things while you're not working," Hindahl said. It's "very difficult to police, but it is critical for our managers to monitor the use and hold [the staff they manage] accountable for smartphone use and that they are only using [them] for work-related activities during work. --Read more of this blog post on Hospital Impact and more of this article on FierceMobileHealthcare.