Do cell phones interfere with telemetry? - page 2

I have heard yes and no on this question. At my hospital, where I work med/surg and ICU prn, we don't allow cell phones to be used inside the hospital. Last weekend I was asked to check each room... Read More

  1. by   biomedsam
    Currently, the FCC has allocated the following frequency bands for medical telemetry use.

    608-614 MHz, 1395-1400 MHz, & 1427-1432 MHz

    Some years ago, medical telemetry frequencies and frequencies used for television signals as well as business two way radios shared the same frequency bands. Now, medical telemetry has been allocated it's own frequency band and shares little of it with other activities.

    Hospitals in large cities where High Definition TV signals are being transmitted (high powered outputs from TV stations) could cause interference with medical telemetry devices. Your biomedical maintenance personal should be aware of these issues and might better be able to answer specific questions based on your location.

    Newer telemetry technology in the 1.4GHZ frequency range includes frequency hopping capabilities that assist in not allowing interfering signals to override your telemetry data.

    Basically, it all is getting much better. Cell phones are allowed in our facility except in critical care areas. Even these areas have cell phones issued to clinical personnel but they are trained to stay a certain distance from patient areas (basically 6 feet). I have done informal testing of cell phones
    in our ICU (no patients of course) and found no interference with cell phones being operated with 1 foot of patient monitors (lead sets) and telemetry antennas (they are most probably visible, hanging from the ceiling at various places in the hallways).

    A simple example of interference is one you can test at home (possible).
    Get on your cordless telephone and then fire up your microwave. The frequencies of many cordless phones is in the 2.4 GHZ range. Microwave ovens also generate radio frequency energy at the same frequency of about 2.4 GHZ. With microwave ovens generating in excess of 600 Watts, they will interfere with your cordless receiver easily, within just a few yards possibly, even with the shielding provided by the metal in the microwave oven, you still get "RF leakage". (Years ago, we use to check microwave ovens for RF leakage regularly.

    Talk to your biomedical maintenance personnel. They should be able to help.


    Interference CAN happen. It is just less likely with up and coming technology.
  2. by   RGN1
    where I work cell phones are allowed in all areas bar theatres & ICU. That has just happened in the last year following some report or other that said there was no risk but if there was a lot of equipment, as in ICU etc then it was better to play safe.
  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    We kept the "no cell phones" signs up for peace and quiet.
  4. by   lsyorke
    Cell phones in my hospital are OK, except in the ICU's.
  5. by   mom2michael
    Families are allowed cell phones anywhere in my facility however staff is banned from having cell phones on their body while working - they must be kept in your locker on vibrate.
  6. by   bethin
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    We kept the "no cell phones" signs up for peace and quiet.
    Good idea. Whether or not cell phones interfere with hospital equipment, it is rude to have a pt on a cell phone while you're trying to provide care. It interferes with pt care.
  7. by   parrotmom
    depends on the type of phone and type of equipment a swell. Motorolas have a tendency to interfere more than others in my experience.