Healthcare IT workers may want to limit “distracted doctoring”

With the increase of technology in the medical industry only expected to continue as government incentives for electronic medical records software encourage doctors to adopt IT, healthcare IT professionals may need to take a bigger role when it comes to the abuse of these resources.

While these tools can provide benefits, the smartphones and tablets that work in conjunction with these resources may be contributing to a larger problem, one that could put patients at risk.

For example, a study released earlier this year in Perfusion, a journal for cardio-pulmonary bypass surgery professionals, indicated that 55 percent of the technicians that monitor these operations say they've seen doctors talk or text while performing this essential patient care.

While some may dismiss the results as a one off study, it indicate the severity of a widespread problem, as it was reviewed by 439 medical technicians before it was published.

"You walk around the hospital, and what you see is not funny," Dr. Peter Papadakos, director of critical care at the University of Rochester Medical Center, told the Charlotte Observer. "You justify carrying devices around the hospital to do medical records. But, you can surf the internet or do Facebook, and sometimes, for whatever reason, Facebook is more tempting."

Some medical facilities have even begun to ban the use of smartphones in some healthcare settings. As a result, healthcare IT professionals may want to take steps to follow the same course or limit these devices from accessing certain applications on their networks. By taking this precaution they can help reduce the problem at small medical facilities.

Doctors at private practices, on the other hand, may have to exercise more self-restraint for their patients. After all, the doctor-patient relationship is the touchstone of medical care, and patients may leave for another office if a professional appears distracted.