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Snoots LR, Wands BA. AANA J. 2016;84:114-119.
Personal electronic devices such as smartphones are now ubiquitous, and many clinicians use them for both work and personal purposes. Although considered a necessity, these devices can serve as a distraction, which could compromise patient safety. This review found that many certified registered nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists acknowledge using personal electronic devices in the operating room despite knowledge of the potential risks. Currently, no formal guidelines exist regarding what constitutes inappropriate use of such devices in the operating room. The authors call for further research in order to develop policies to balance the risks and benefits of personal electronic devices. A WebM&M commentary discusses a case where an interruption due to receiving a text message on a smartphone led to a serious medication error.