If you thought your cell phone was a piece of crap, you might be right. Those advanced and shiny smart phones that all the doctors and nurses carry around with them during the day are nothing more than a massive bacteria trap contaminated with deadly microorganisms. That's right folks. One in six cells phones are contaminated with E coli. Also known as Escherichia coli. Also known as poop. At least that's what Dr Ron Cutler and other scientists from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine are reporting.
Think about it. The entire communication process in hospitals these days revolves around the cell phone. I answer my cell phone dozens of times a day, all day long, in and out of patient rooms. Even nurses answer my cell phone for me if I can't answer it myself. All it takes is one doctor, one nurse, one patient or one family member with E coli on their hands to contaminate a door knob or a water faucet and my phone will risk becoming a vector of disease for my patients.
This is just one more reason to build systems process to try and limit the number of pages and phone calls to hospitalists. Perhaps, framing that process as a patient safety issue is the way to go. Information technology people are always worried about HIPAA and texting when they should be focusing their efforts on eradicating dirty texting in the hospital. It's hard to imagine national guidelines for mandatory flu shots in the hospital when all doctors and nurses are carrying around poop infested cell phones (and probably pagers too).