Is Distracted Doctoring a Problem?

There are certain benefits to using a doctor who has up to date cutting edge technology, but there may also be drawbacks. Today, doctors routinely use gadgets such as smartphones and tablets to get instant access to patient records, information about prescription drugs and other data. However helpful these tools are they also pose a possible distraction and thereby danger for patients.

Specifically, some medical professionals including doctors and nurses may be distracted by the gadget in front of them rather than focused on the patient they are treating. Just as a car driver is distracted by a text message behind the wheel, a doctor may be distracted by a text message in the examining room. Just as a truck driver may be tempted to check the latest scores so too may a nurse in the operating room.

Are these distractions different than the more traditional beeper carried by doctors for decades? Can distracted doctors make mistakes that cost patients their lives? Research studies are beginning to address this question.

What do you think? Are you more comfortable with a doctor who uses this technology or are you afraid of potential medical malpractice by a distracted physician?