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Dangers of distracted doctoring: Part 2

As discussed in the previous post, more and more hospitals are integrating the latest technological gadgets into their practice of medicine with the goal of improving patient care. While technology has the ability to improve patient care, it can also hurt patients if the doctors end up more focused on their gadgets than providing the best care to the person in front of them.

This phenomenon is referred to as "distracted doctoring" in a recent New York Times article. This distraction can cause grave medical errors to be made.

The term plays off "distracted driving," which has been much in the news as public safety advocates work to educate the public on the dangers of trying to drive a motor vehicle or get around while using a technological gadget.

More and more studies have shown that multi-tasking can end up making a person do everything badly at once, rather than conquering each given task methodically and successfully.

For young doctors, this can especially be a problem since they have grown up being constantly connected to the Internet and their mobile phones. Some hospitals are establishing "quiet zones" where nothing is allowed to take place but patient care in order to help doctors focus on their patients.

Source: New York Times, "As Doctors Use More Devices, Potential for Distraction Grows," Matt Richtel, Dec. 14, 2011

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