We live in a day and age when the advances in technology are having a profound effect on how well doctors and hospitals can treat us and keep us healthy. Tablet computers and smartphones give doctors incredible access to information and tools to help them be better doctors. At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Henry Feldman says that mobile technology lets him do everything he could do if he was sitting at his desktop at the patient's bedside. Some things he couldn't easily do without mobile technology, like showing patients impressive new animated apps, diagrams, medical records and even photos from their own surgeries as they recover.
Examples like Dr. Feldman have encouraged hospitals and doctors offices to invest in mobile technology to improve patient care and reduce medical errors. This technology is improving the care patients receive by providing instant access to case studies, patient data and drug information. However, the increased adoption of mobile technology has had a concerning side-effect, a rise in distracted doctors and medical staff. Given the amount of distraction mobile devices cause elsewhere (driving, meetings, family time, etc...) it is no surprise that we find it having an impact in hospitals. In 2011 a case study by Dr. John Halamka detailed an incident in which a personal text distracted a resident from completing a drug order to stop giving a 56-year-old man a blood thinner he was on. When the man required open heart surgery later that mistake was almost fatal.