So the British are banning cellphones. Hospital cellphone ban under the stethoscope – Engadget – www.engadget.com. At Maimonides we just went the other way and removed the prohibition.
The data on close reading has become increasingly persuasive that we were merely managing behavior with the ban, not a true technical problem. A thoughtful nursing leader commented to me,
“Another myth that drove policy? I believe our challenge is one of enforcing civility; the myth that it may interfere with the patient’s electromechanical well-being was easier to convey than a request for good judgement and respect for a manageable environment. My nephew is a pilot and the manager of a private airport in DC, I asked him about the airline requirement; interesting response and he admits, it is more about managing the environment than the threat of real electromechanical interference! I guess the only good news for nursing is one less rule to enforce, as for the workplace, another example of who is really in charge.”
Since the radio frequency (RF) environment in hospitals is increasingly a challenge and will only become more so, you might want to review the current data and opinion before you act. For the primary sources view the FDA’s site which though it hasn’t been updated since October 2002 is still the place to start. The recent publication of the Mobile Healthcare Alliance updates the older information and helped us decide to allow cellphones throughout the hospital.