Cell Phones = Bad News In Hospitals - InformationWeek

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Commentary
9/7/2007
10:05 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Cell Phones = Bad News In Hospitals

A new study from Amsterdam contradicts earlier findings and details how newer cell phones negatively interfere with bedside medical equipment.

A new study from Amsterdam contradicts earlier findings and details how newer cell phones negatively interfere with bedside medical equipment.If you're a traveling nurse or physician, take note. It's probably best to switch off your cell phone before visiting patients in the hospital. Though you probably already did that as a precaution, a team of Dutch scientists discovered that newer cell phones broadcasting GPRS signals can interfere with ventilators, pace makers and syringe pumps. The GPRS signals create electromagnetic interference when brought within a meter or so of the equipment.

Some of the bad things that happened? How about ventilators that became switched off, or pacemakers that went on the fritz and pulsed irregularly. Not exactly what you want happening to patients when making rounds...or when you're visiting Grannie.

These findings are the exact opposite of those reported by a Mayo Clinic study from earlier this year.

Many hospitals and medical facilities already ban cell phone use. How this new study will impact medical professionals who are equipped with smartphones to help them with their daily tasks is probably something that should be determined on a facility level. Even so, it's best to take the safe route until the studies can be sorted out and proper policies put in place.

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