Features  |   June 2018
Your Attention Please: Personal Electronic Device Use 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
  • Lisa Y. Chan, M.D.
    Committee on Electronic Media and Information Technology
  • Brian S. Rothman, M.D.
    Committee on Electronic Media and Information Technology
    Chair
Article Information
Technology / Equipment / Monitoring / Features
Features   |   June 2018
Your Attention Please: Personal Electronic Device Use in the O.R.
ASA Monitor 6 2018, Vol.82, 18-20.
ASA Monitor 6 2018, Vol.82, 18-20.
The O.R. is a complex interactive environment with intricate inter-moving parts, composed of a patient, surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses as well as electrical and non-electrical equipment. Within this environment, it is commonplace to find the use of smartphones and other personal electronic devices (PEDs). Smartphones confer a variety of clinical benefits that enable the efficient and efficacious care of patients. However, smartphones may also distract from patient care by their use for non-clinical purposes such as personal texting and visiting social media sites. In addition, this non-clinical activity on PEDs and computers is easily tracked by the devices’ documentation of the activity through metadata. This data, while beneficial for enhancing our browsing experience and enriching commercial interests, can also be used in legal proceedings to imply that a clinician was distracted during a critical event.1  Our role as anesthesiologist is to be vigilant in the care of our patient in the O.R. Vigilance is defined as a “state of readiness to detect and respond to certain specified small changes occurring at random intervals in the environment.”2  How do we regulate PED use in light of its risks and benefits? Some have suggested that institutions ban intraoperative PED use, others have opted to define the appropriate role of these devices. In this article, we discuss the use of PEDs in the O.R., potential medicolegal risks associated with this behavior and the role of institutional policies.
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