January 30, 2006

Medical Cell Phone Math

A story this morning that I heard on Morning Edition, from UPI, suggests that putting cell phones in the hands of doctors (here specifically, anesthesiologists) cuts down on errors and leads to better care.

Does not seem to be particularly good science, on initial glance (its based on a survey of doctors, who I am sure would prefer a cell phone vs. a pager, so there is a lot of room for survey bias) - although perhaps its better in addressing its initial intent (document the likelihood or rarity of cell phone interference with medical equipment).

In any case, as a cell phone user as well as a person who does business within the hospital environment, I would like to throw one additional consideration into the fray: the spread of staph (and other) infection via cell phone. Imagine the average doctors cell phone as a little germ carrier - roaming from patient to patient, and tell me the doc is gonna swab it between patients, or bother to glove / deglve when the phone rings.

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