• Study
  • Published June 2012

Smartphone use during inpatient attending rounds: prevalence, patterns and potential for distraction.

Smartphones have become nearly ubiquitous among physicians. Their use provides many potential benefits for patient care including quick access to medical references, patient information, and clinical applications. However, this mobile technology also introduces a novel source of distractions, interruptions, and multitasking, which have all been linked to medical errors. This cross-sectional survey at a university medical center revealed that both residents and faculty frequently use smartphones during attending rounds. The majority of physicians in the study agreed that smartphones may create serious distractions during rounds. Nearly 80% of attendings believed that formal policies for smartphone usage during rounds should be established. A case of a non–work-related text message on a smartphone that interrupted an important medication order is described in this AHRQ WebM&M commentary.

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