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Study: Cell phones help in hospitals

A timely call between doctors via cell phone could boost the quality of healthcare in hospitals, according to researchers at Yale School of Medicine.

The report, in February's Anesthesia & Analgesia, doesn't discount concerns that wireless communications can interfere, electromagneticly, with medical devices like life-support ventilators, monitoring equipment and intravenous infusion pumps. The risk of crossed wires occured 2.4 percent of the time during research. But that rate was much lower than the 14.9 percent risk of medical error from delayed communications.

The results were attributed to advances from older telemetry equipment and analog cell phones.

"The new digital cell phones used much higher power and operate at a different frequency," Keith Ruskin, an associate professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Neurosurgery at Yale, said in a statement. "The small risks of electromagnetic interference between mobile telephones and medical devices should be weighed against the potential benefits of improved communication."

Can't you hear the ER ringtones now?