The American Medical Association recommends that people with dementia should not wear their smart phones or other electronic devices in their hospital beds, and that hospital workers should not access patient medical records from a smartphone without a separate device.
The AMA’s guidelines, published in the medical journal BMJ, say hospital employees should not share their medical records with patients and should avoid sharing patient records with other hospital staff.
In addition, the AMA recommends that hospitals reduce the number of screens and electronic devices they have on their premises, and recommends that patients with dementia be kept out of the hospital and on their own.
“While many people have different views about how we should design our hospital beds and other medical facilities, we believe that all people deserve a place at home, and all people should be treated with dignity,” said Dr. Jeffrey M. Roesler, chief of staff to AMA President Robert A. Heinlein.
The recommendations come as the number and frequency of calls to emergency rooms has risen, and in the wake of the March 13, 2019, shooting of three employees at a Colorado movie theater, the NRA urged states to ban phones in hospitals.
The NRA is a leader in its push to outlaw phones and other electronic items in hospitals, and its members have rallied in support of its position.
A hospital’s policy should focus on its patient-focused goals, said Dr, Jodi E. McQuaid, president of the American Hospital Association.
For example, hospitals should encourage the use of technology for patients and their caregivers.
Hospitals also need to avoid having patients use other devices, such as smartphones, while in their care, and they should be careful not to use them for other activities such as watching television, she said.
The guidelines also suggest that hospitals should provide some degree of personal space for patients to communicate.
“For many patients, there is a lack of privacy in the home.
A hospital can and should provide a place for these patients to have privacy and dignity,” McQuee said.
A spokesman for the AMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.