Cell phones and confidentiality

  1. I don't know if this topic has been touched on, but I wanted to see if anyone else had encountered the same thing as me.

    The other day, while I was working at the hospital, I was in a patient's room. She was on her cell phone, so I was turning to walk out when she suddenly said, 'oh i have to go!' and hung up. I turned around and told her i was readying the room for a roommate and she didn't need to get off the phone. She said 'No, you're ok, I was getting off the phone because I was picking up a doctor's call. I heard someone say something about morphine, diabetes, and some sort of consult, so I got off the phone before I heard much more'.

    I was shocked! Well, not surprised that her cell phone wasn't picking up other cells phones, because I know that can happen...but if SHE is picking up doctor's calls, i wonder what other people might be picking up! I don't think that we could restrict doctor's from using their cell phones...but we can't restrict patient's from using there's either! Maybe it was just a freak incident, but there could be serious consequences if someone heard the wrong information and wasn't as honest as this patient was in hanging up the phone...
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    About daisey_may

    Joined: Feb '06; Posts: 119; Likes: 25
    RN
    Specialty: med surg

    9 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    Whoa! I've never heard of that happening before, but it is stressed that cell calls are not secure so I guess it's possible

    As for restricting the docs from using their cells in house, why not? We do.
  4. by   daisey_may
    We don't restrict doctor's from their cell phones at our hospital. They even carry more then one sometimes--one for their family and friends, and one for work, and a pager for when they are on their cell phone!

    I'm not sure how we would get away with limiting doctor's cell phones...they seem to depend on them so much
  5. by   Noryn
    Something similar happened to me about 7 years ago that I thought was a 1 in a million chance. I had my scanner on, when I heard a nurse that I had graduated with and actually worked with on the phone with a doctor. The doctor was on his cell phone but I heard the entire conversation and was like, "Wow!"

    I had heard people talking on cordless phones before with my scanner but was like what are the odds of hearing 2 people I work with and know.
  6. by   wubbakat
    You have to be extremely careful about using cell phones or even your cordless phones in your own home. I have a neighbor, who has not been a very nice one, that routinely listened in on my phone conversations on my cordless, she had a scanner. How I knew she listening, she sent me a nasty letter (copy of the original), via mail, with no return address on the outside envelop, with an almost verbatum (sp?) wording of a phone conversation I had with my sister regarding her dog in my trash cans. We have had some real altercations since. Word of caution, if you have anything private you wish to discuss with anyone, use a land line!!!:trout:
  7. by   White Shoes
    its scary to think of our personal info being transmitted through the phone waves. cordless phones do this, too. one day i over heard my neighbor's phone call through my baby monitor! and i had a friend who was talking about something that a neighbor did that got on her nerves on her cordless phone, and that neighbor heard the entire conversation through their cordless phone. needless to say, the neighborly relationship took an awfully awkward turn.

    slightly different, but somewhat related... a few days ago i was speaking to my insurance company about a payment. in the background, i could hear another insurance operator repeating a name, personal information and exact visa numbers. i told my operator, and then i contacted the supervisor. they said that the operators are instructed to sit in a certain way in their cubical when speaking so this doesn't happen, but even so, it did happen. somehow cubical- style offices that have open doorways and 6 foot walls don't really give me a lot of confidence that my personal information won't be overheard. you would think that they could enclose them better, but i suppose it would be very cost-ineffective (heating individual cubicals, etc... but still, some things should be considered priority- like confidentiality!)

    i guess its just another hazard of this generation we live in... potential for identity theft and unintentional (or sadly, sometimes intentional) invasions of our privacy.

    its good to know that your patient had enough honesty and integrity to hang up and not allow herself to listen into the details of another person's health.

    blessings,

    white shoes
  8. by   neetnik461
    daisey may wrote:

    The other day, while I was working at the hospital, I was in a patient's room. She was on her cell phone,
    Wow! I was kind of surprised to read this post. Our hospital is really strict about cell phone use. From what I understand patients are not permitted to use cell phones and are required to use the phones provided in the rooms (I work ICU so there are no phones in the rooms, but this is what I understand for non-ICU floors). Visitors are asked to turn cell phones off while on the floors.

    This has caused some tension when doctors are seen using their cell phones because patients and families will wonder why the doc's can use them and they cannot. Generally doctors are aware of this and keep their cell phone use to a bare minimum while on the floor. For the most part they use the house phones at the nurses stations just like everyone else.
  9. by   XB9S
    In UK we do not allow the use of cell phones in the ward areas
  10. by   daisey_may
    Yeah, when I was younger, my brothers and I had walkie talkies that we would run through the neighborhood with, and we could pick up people's cordless phone conversations if we were close enough. It's scary to think that other people could be listening in on your conversation when you are at home, but the information that could be passed when in the hospital makes me cringe.
  11. by   Antikigirl
    When I was in high school, there was a neighbor whos phone would broadcast via my speaker phone (we had a cordless). That was in the late 80's though. I told them about it, and we both got new phones and the probelm stopped.

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