I have to admit, I never thought of cell phones being a problem in hospitals. It makes sense, though. There’s a good bit of expensive, electronic equipment all over the place and phones just love to get in there and mess with all that. This is, of course, why they’re not allowed on airplanes.
Recently, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency put the clamp down on cell phone use in hospitals, but have decided to relax some of its rules due to the overreach they had. The agency did state, however, that more restrictions may be coming due to new concerns. Some of the reasons cell phone restrictions are being pushed, such as camera phones being a risk to patient privacy, seem a bit far-fetched.
I don’t know anyone that would walk around a hospital, just taking pictures of every sick person one sees. The Department of Health is also worried about ring tones that sound like medical equipment. Though, the biggest reason to not have cell phones in hospitals (interference with machinery) has been described as “merely an irritation and ultimately harmless to the patient.”
In the end, this seems to be one of those “Damned if you do/Damned if you don’t” situations where cell phones could be used as much more productive tools than pagers for doctors, but they could also be a nuisance to patients.
Concern over new rules on mobile phones in hospitals [Eureka Alert]