Benefits and Risks of Mobile Device Use During Patient Care

For Immediate Release
February 26, 2013
For more information
Contact: Armentia Snyder
 
Park Ridge, Ill. -- In response to the trending topic of healthcare professionals using mobile communication devices while caring for patients, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has adopted a new position statement titled “Mobile Device Use” to address the issue. This position statement offers evidence-based guidance to nurse anesthetists and other healthcare professionals, encouraging them to avoid the unnecessary use of these tools when caring for patients.
 
With the adoption of the Mobile Device Use position statement, the AANA becomes one of only a few healthcare professional associations to take a formal position on this issue, and the only organization representing anesthesia professionals.
 
“As our Mobile Device Use position statement makes clear, the AANA supports the use of mobile technology as it pertains to direct patient care so long it does not hinder a provider’s performance or vigilance,” said Janice Izlar, CRNA, DNAP, president of the AANA, which represents more than 45,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and student registered nurse anesthetists nationwide. “The AANA recommends that CRNAs and all healthcare professionals properly assess whether it is necessary to use a mobile device when caring for a patient, and make a decision that will have a positive impact on the delivery of care rather than jeopardizing that process in any way.”
 
The employment of mobile devices such as Smartphones or tablets in healthcare settings has the potential to enhance productivity, lower failure-to-respond rate, and increase information access and communication, among other benefits. Conversely, use of these devices by healthcare professionals can also have a negative impact on patient care. According to research, possible patient safety issues include, but are not limited to, the transmission of bacteria from mobile devices to sterile environments, cellular interference with medical equipment, and being distracted during patient care due to using mobile devices for personal reasons such as reading/sending email, visiting social media websites, and surfing the Internet. To reduce distractions and ensure vigilance, the AANA encourages healthcare providers to avoid recreational use of mobile devices during patient care.
 
Additionally, as cameras and video recorders have become the standard for mobile devices, the risk of privacy and confidentiality breaches has increased.
 
The Mobile Device Use position statement is a result of ongoing efforts by the AANA Perioperative Safety Task Force, AANA Practice Committee, and AANA Professional Practice Division to define and guide modern nurse anesthesia practice based on scientific evidence. Click here to access the position statement. Additional coverage of this and other new and revised AANA position statements appears in the February 2013 issue of the AANA Journal, also available at www.aana.com.