Wireless Device Use and Patient Monitoring Equipment in Any Healthcare Delivery Setting: A Review of Safety and Guidelines


RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. What is the evidence that wireless devices interfere with patient monitoring equipment in any healthcare delivery setting?
  2. What is the evidence for the safe use of wireless devices when in the vicinity of patient monitoring equipment in any healthcare delivery setting?
  3. What are the evidenced-based guidelines for the use of wireless devices in any healthcare delivery setting?

KEY FINDINGS

Interference occurs when devices operate in a shared radio spectrum which is congested. Medical equipment with designated frequencies within the radio spectrum not shared by commonly used wireless devices may be significantly protected from EMI induced by wireless devices. The likelihood of EMI in medical equipment due to wireless devices increases with increased transmitter powers, lower frequencies, and shorter distances between devices. Clinically significant interference in the functioning of medical equipment induced by wireless devices is rare and occurs at very short distances (mostly less than 3ft) between wireless devices and medical equipment. Policies to regulate wireless device used in highly instrumented areas in a healthcare environment could protect sensitive equipment from exposure to hazardous EMI.