Smartphones in medicine: emerging practices in an academic medical center

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Advances in mobile phone technology now provide a myriad of resources to physicians' fingertips. However, the medical profession continues to struggle with potential for misuse of these devices. There is a need for better understanding of physicians' uses of smartphones in order to establish guidelines for appropriate and professional behavior. The purpose of the current study was to survey physicians' and medical students' practices concerning smartphone use in the healthcare setting. Physicians and medical students were asked to complete anonymous surveys regarding uses of smartphones within the past month in various healthcare settings. Overall, the participants reported distinctly different patterns in the uses they made of their phones in different settings (P<.001), with most individuals engaging in most behaviors while on break but few using their smartphones while with patients or during procedures. It appears that physicians and medical students make decisions about using their smartphones according to some combination of three considerations: degree of relevance to patient care, the appropriateness of the behavior in front of patients, and the issue of how disruptive that behavior may be.

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Journal of medical systems

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