Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Use of mobile phones in hospitals

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 12 October 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:767

Rapid Response:

Mobile phone and its role in safe patient handovers

We congratulate the editorialists for bringing to light the important
and precarious issue of mobile phone use in hospitals. We would like to
add further that mobile phones are also an effective resource for
improving the quality of handover of patients. Effective patient handover
is vital to the continuity of care of a patient and is an important aspect
of physician training [1]. It becomes more critical in a ward based
setting where patients are transferred at short notice to other clinical
areas from the admitting ward. This has been recognised as a vulnerable
time which can precipitate adverse events. The use of conventional pager
systems which are equally capable of electromagnetic interference [2] is
sometimes impractical and cumbersome. Mobile phones can be used to
immediately communicate to colleagues who are about to take over the care
of the patients. This is especially true if the patient is very unwell or
there are any outstanding investigations or interventions. Effective
communication remains at the heart of good patient care and it is high
time that the technological advances at our disposal should be effectively
used for this purpose.

1) RCP 2004, GPT Handbook: Guidelines on effective patient handover
for physicians (appendix 4)

1) Hospital Pager Systems May Cause Interference with Pacemaker
Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology 1998 21:11 2353

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

16 October 2006
Najeeb Ahmed
Samreen Muzaffar
Milton Keynes General Hospital, UK