From Mayo Clinic comes another study designed to combat the superstitions of hospital administrators, office rats and high-school dropouts sitting at the front desks of nursing stations:
In a study published in the March issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers say normal use of cell phones results in no noticeable interference with patient care equipment. Three hundred tests were performed over a five-month period in 2006, without a single problem incurred.
Involved in the study were two cellular phones which used different technologies from different carriers and 192 medical devices. Tests were performed at Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester.
The study’s authors say the findings should prompt hospitals to alter or abandon their bans on cell phone use. Mayo Clinic leaders are reviewing the facility’s cell phone ban because of the study’s findings, says David Hayes, M.D., of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and a study author.
Cell phone bans inconvenience patients and their families who must exit hospitals to place calls, the study’s authors say.
The latest study revisits two earlier studies that were done ‘in vitro’ (i.e., the equipment wasn’t connected to the patients), which also found minimal interaction from cell phones used in health care facilities. Dr. Hayes says the latest study bolsters the notion that cells phones are safe to use in hospitals.
There are still disturbing case reports like this one to suggest that maybe waving a mobile phone around a sensitive piece of equipment could be risky. But for the administrators patrolling hospital hallways, yelling at families and staff to shut up and return to the 1980s, we say: read it and think.
Flashbacks: Cell Phones vs Hospital Equipment: Less Interference, Still Annoying; Cell Phone Restrictions Under Review