February 2003
Volume 27 No. 2

Hi-tech ID wristbands boost safety, efficiency

New policy details procedure for missing patients

New Cellular Therapeutics Lab boosts SHC's bone marrow transplant capacity

Emergency Medicine faculty promotes specialty halfway around the globe

Revised policies mean cell phones, laptops can be used in some areas

Physicians can take simple steps to improve patient safety







Revised policies mean cell phones, laptops can be used in some areas

In a change that broadens communication and computer access at the medical center, policies dealing with cell phones, portable computers and PDAs have been revised to allow these devices to be used in hospital areas where patients are not dependent on medical equipment. Until now, the policies prohibited all use of these devices throughout Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

The devices are still prohibited - meaning they must be turned off - in areas defined as "Patient Dependent on Equipment" locations. These include critical-care units, the emergency department, intensive-care units, operating rooms, cardiac catheterization labs, radiology, recovery, labor and delivery, or any other electrically sensitive environment. Additionally, the devices must be turned off within 4 feet of any patient on medical equipment.

The restrictions are aimed at patient safety, said Vicki Running, director of clinical engineering and telecommunications, who drafted the revised policies. She noted that cell phones and electronic devices can interfere with the proper functioning of electronic medical equipment because they generate radio-frequency signals and/or electromagnetic interference. Signage at the hospitals will be updated in the coming weeks to reflect the change. Areas where the devices are prohibited will be indicated with signs.