Features  |   April 2015
Technology: An Uninvited Guest in the O.R.?
Author Affiliations
  • Thomas T. Klumpner, M.D.
    Committee on Electronic Media and Information Technology
  • Daniel A. Biggs, M.D., M.Sc.
    Committee on Electronic Media and Information Technology
  • Ori Gottlieb, M.D.
    Committee on Electronic Media and Information Technology
Article Information
Technology / Equipment / Monitoring / Features
Features   |   April 2015
Technology: An Uninvited Guest in the O.R.?
ASA Monitor 04 2015, Vol.79, 18-20.
ASA Monitor 04 2015, Vol.79, 18-20.
Information technology (IT) can be an extremely useful tool. It allows us rapid access to patient records, treatment protocols and other useful clinical information. However, it may provide an additional distraction in an environment filled with interruptions. It can also expose physicians to liability in many unappreciated ways. Institutional policies may help clarify the role of IT in the workplace. As medical professionals, we must recognize our role in determining what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate use of information technology in the O.R.
In December 2011, Matt Richtel coined the term “distracted doctoring” in a New York Times article to describe the phenomena of computers, smartphones and other technology creating a distraction to patient care.1  In his article, Richtel describes how clinicians can be “focused on the screen and not the patient, even during moments of critical care.” His examples include a survey study published in Perfusion in which 55.6 percent of perfusionists reported the use of a cellphone during the performance of cardiopulmonary bypass.2  Richtel also describes anesthesiology trainees being found texting in the O.R., a neurosurgeon talking on his cellphone during an operation and other clinicians visiting eBay on computers in the ICU.
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