Study: Residents Appreciate Certain Smartphone Use Limits

Smartphone use in the clinical environment is ubiquitous among residents. However, there are questions of professionalism that arise from smartphone use on rounds and in other formal clinical settings.

This article published with permission from iMedicalApps.com.

Smartphone use in the clinical environment is ubiquitous among residents.

Staff members are usually in their 20s and 30s and are part of the first generation that grew up with the Internet.

However, there are questions of professionalism that arise from smartphone use on rounds and in other formal clinical settings.

In February of 2012, Albert Einstein College of Medicine instituted a smartphone policy to minimize distraction during attending rounds.

The policy states that all team members must silence or turn off their phones during attending rounds. The policy did indicate that smartphones could be used for matters that related directly to patient care. Given the importance of technology to Generation Y, a study was done to assess resident attitude to the new smartphone policy.

Objectives

To evaluate resident attitudes to the smartphone policy implemented at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

Study conclusion

The majority of residents had an acceptance of the clear guidelines regarding smartphone use during inpatient rounds (despite concerns that guidelines and restrictions could foster resentment among residents).

Commentary and implications

The generation of physicians in residency who grew up on the Internet has the highest utilization of technology. Smartphones have the potential to be great tools on rounds and in the clinical setting, but there is concern that their use in certain clinical situations can convey a lack of professionalism or even apathy. Briefly, the policy at Albert Einstein stated that the smartphone code of conduct policy was instituted to minimize distraction during attending rounds.

The policy applies to all team members, including faculty and essentially states that at the beginning of rounds, all phones must be silenced or turned off. These devices are to be used only for patient care or for urgent personal/family concerns. Any use of smartphones must be made explicit to the person leading rounds.

Read more and see the results.