Study: Cell phones reduce medical errors

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Though a drop in medical errors and the use of cell phones don't seem to have a very intuitive connection, in fact, they do. It's quite simple: due to mobile phone technology healthcare is now faster, according to a report by Yale School of Medicine. The report will be published in this month's Anesthesia & Analgesia.

The study - which evaluated 4,018 responses from anesthesiologists - appears to be the first of its kind delving into the issue of whether cell phone use in the medical profession has benefits to patient safety.

Sixty-five percent of respondents claimed to use pagers and 17 percent said they use cell phones. Of the pager users, 40 percent reported delays in communications, which compares unfavorably to the 31 percent of cell phone users reporting delays.
    
Electronic interference from mobile phones has diminished due to advances in technology. "The new digital cell phones used much higher power and operate at a different frequency," said Keith Ruskin, MD, the report's senior author, and associate professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Neurosurgery. "The small risks of electromagnetic interference between mobile telephones and medical devices should be weighed against the potential benefits of improved communication."

To put things in perspective, Ruskin added that the 2.4 percent occurance of electronic interference with life support devices is far smaller than the 14.9 percent risk of observed medical error or injury caused by a delay in communication.