USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICES IN PATIENT CARE SETTINGS 5
Useof Personal Communication Devices in Patient Care Settings
Anarticle by Wyattand Krauskopf (2012) points out that technology advancement, whichhas greatly evolved the historical analog phones to the currentSmartphone, has greatly impacted patient care positively. Accordingto this article, Smartphone use by healthcare workers has been on therise. Research indicates that most of the healthcare physicianspossess a Smartphone and apart from using it as a communicationdevice greatly rely on it in their health care work settings. Thearticle points out that there are several medical and healthcareapplications for Smartphone. Among the most common healthcareapplications is drug reference. There is enough evidence thatsupports the article’s argument that many health care workers relyon their Smartphone’s application to quickly find the correct andmost suitable drug to prescribe for various illnesses and conditions.Other Smartphone applications in health care settings include:medical calculators, reference guides for personal health andlifestyle applications.
Thearticle argues that the various applications are very useful inhealth care settings since they guide physicians on the correctmedication to administer to their patients, lab and other safetyinformation aimed at achieving safe health care. Of more importanceis the fact that heath workers can be able to use the upgradedcommunication devices at the time of care, thus able to combine theirknowledge and expertise to get excellent results. Currently,applications that help in identifying one’s medication based onpill characteristics such as color and shape are available throughSmartphone. One the greatest benefit of using communication devicesin health care setting is convenience and fast access to referenceand apparatus that have been easily reached in the past (Wyatt andKrauskopf, 2012). It is clear from the article that physicians andnurses may teach patients how to monitor their health status astracking blood pressure using certain apparatus on upgradedcommunication devices. Applications for effectively managingconditions such as kidney problems, blood pressure and lifestylechoices are available on communication devices.
However,Preetinder, Ashwiniand Tejkaran(2012), pointsout that just like any other technology use of communication devicesin health care settings has some negative impacts which have raisedvarious legal and ethical issues. The three authors argue from theirresearch that cellular phones, including Smartphone are detrimentalto cognitive performance, a factor highly important in clinicalsettings. It is argued that use of communication devices while atworkplace lowers the reaction time, hinders focus and results in poorperformance of tasks requiring mental focus and creative decisionmaking. The authors point out the uncontrolled use of communicationdevices by physicians and nurses while attending patients is a formof distraction which can lead to a fatal mistake raising variousethical issues which might have very serious legal implications. Theuncontrolled use of communication devices in healthcare setting isassociated with increase in procedural failures and increase inclinical omissions. It is therefore important that care should betaken when using communication devices in clinical settings to ensurethat they are not a hindrance to safe health care procedures.
Theexample illustrated with this particular use of a Smartphone in ahealthcare setting qualifies as safe care. From the incidence, it isquite clear that the physician did not fully understand what thepatient’s small seizures indicated and wanted to get the rightinformation about them to deliver safe health care to the patient.After the video was sent to the neurologist, the seizures werecorrectly identified and the physician was able to contain them.Despite the fact that some people will argue against the use ofcommunication devices in such emergency situations, this particularincidence shows that these devices can be of great benefit both tothe health care worker and the patient. If the Smartphone applicationwas not used, the physician may have wrongly interpreted the seizuresand administered the wrong medications putting the patient at agreater risk. Use of communication for safe care should be encouragedand nurses and physicians constantly trained to keep up with thechanging technology. However, as pointed out earlier in this essay,it is important that care should be taken when using thecommunication devices to ensure that they do not become a hindranceto safe care (Preetinder, Ashwiniand Tejkaran,2012).
Despitethe tremendous improvement in technology, there is no upgraded,highly resourceful and portable apparatus which has been developedfor safe care. Many of the apparatus and devices aimed at improvingsafe care in clinical settings are bulky and highly expensive hencenot of great convenience compared to Smartphone. If I were to developan apparatus to enhance safe nursing care it would be more of aSmartphone equipped with the latest medical databases, applicationsand has the capacity to carry out various medical investigations thatreveal useful information for safe nursing care. A “medicalSmartphone” as I would name it will not only be highly convenientin clinical settings but will also keep health care workers on theirtoes to keep up with the changing technology to effectively use suchan apparatus to deliver safe and quality health care services.
Preetinder, S.G., AshwiniK. & TejkaranS.G. (2012). Distraction:an assessment of Smartphone usage in health care work settings. RiskManagement Healthcare Policy. 2012 5: 105–114. Published online 2012 Aug27. doi:  10.2147/RMHP.S34813
Wyatt,T. & Krauskopf, P. (2012). E-health and Nursing: UsingSmartphones to Enhance Nursing Practice.  OnlineJournal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI), 16(2), Available at http://ojni.org/issues/?p=1706