Fundamental Principles And Case Studies
By: Ted Cohen, MS, CCE; Willard S. Ellis, PhD, MD; Joseph J. Morrissey, PhD; Craig Bakuzonis, MEng, CCE; Yadin David, PE, EdD, CCE; and W. David Paperman, CE
Many industries and individuals have embraced cellular telephones. They provide mobile, synchronous communication, which could hypothetically increase the efficiency and safety of inpatient healthcare. However, reports of early analog cellular telephones interfering with critical lifesupport machines had led many hospitals to strictly prohibit cellular telephones. A literature search revealed that individual hospitals now are allowing cellular telephone use with various policies to prevent electromagnetic interference with medical devices. The fundamental principles underlying electromagnetic interference are immunity, frequency, modulation technology, distance, and power. Electromagnetic interference risk mitigation methods based on these principles have been successfully implemented. In one case study, a minimum distance between cellular telephones and medical devices is maintained, with restrictions in critical areas. In another case study, cellular telephone coverage is augmented to automatically control the power of the cellular telephone. While no uniform safety standard yet exists, cellular telephones can be safely used in hospitals when their use is managed carefully.
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