Smartphones have taken over our lives! Sure, they are handy in the sense they provide a myriad of conveniences in one device, but they also present certain challenges and distractions. In the healthcare industry, smartphone use can be beneficial, but when it’s overused and becomes a distraction, then it undermines the advantages. The healthcare industry can be very sensitive since it deals with patients and their health, so one distraction by a smartphone can be very distracting, with any mistakes having fatal consequences. And any errors can put patients’ privacy at risk.
Distraction to do smartphone usage can have negative effects on one’s cognitive performance. Their use can reduce focus, increase reaction time and lowers overall performance of tasks that really need concentration and complete focus in the medical field. And although there are a number of apps targeted to doctors and medical students, smartphones are still a distraction in work settings, such as hospitals, which is why careful work needs to be taken to make sure they are not hindering someone’s performance while in the medical field. Getting texts, checking social media and even listening to music on a smartphone can all lead to attention deficits by healthcare employees. Everyone, everyday, uses their smartphone when they’re not supposed to and many of those are healthcare providers.
Even though smartphones can facilitate communication, learning and treatment by recording procedures and capturing images, they are highly distracting and disruptive. And they can also compromise privacy since many forget that sensitive information could be let out in a picture even thought it was unintended to do so. Mobile communication technology can have a number of risks, including loss of data security, cross-contamination, electromagnetic interference and so much more. And it raises certain safety concerns, which is why there needs to be some sort of regulation when it comes to smartphone use in healthcare settings.
A healthcare organization should implement analyses of weaknesses, strengths, opportunities and threats when it comes to figuring out if smartphones in the workplace adds value to patient care or any other of their services. Things that could be done include: scanning smartphone traffic on their network, having a SSL VPB to access a private network, have high-security Wi-Fi connection, limiting bandwidth –consuming sites like YouTube, Netflix and the like, extending firewalls to identify, control and report app usage on the network, and decide which smartphones should be allowed while at work.