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Hospital requiring personal cell phones for patient care

krekear krekear (New) New

Hi all! 
My hospital has announced that we will be required to use our cell phones for patient care. This includes paging doctors, calling for assistance in rooms, and calling out in the event of an emergency. I work in labor and delivery and until recently we have always used wireless phones for these things - especially stat situations I.e baby in the bed, open the OR, calling for NICU, etc. 

Are other people utilizing their cell phones for patient care, including stat situations? Can the hospital really force us to do that? Are they liable if my phone is damaged in a emergent situation? Looking for insight! I can’t believe it’s gone from no cell phones on the unit to everyone is required to have their cell phone on the unit  🙄

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

NO, NO, NO....... not HIPAA compliant.    🙄 🙄  😤  😤

Send this "requirement"  to your Risk Management/ Compliance officer for their input.  Stupid cost cutting plan.....Could be very costly mistake for facility if  hacker gets hold of patient info or alters messages being sent.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

"Oh bummer!  Wouldn't you know it?  I just cancelled my cell phone and had a landline put back in.  Dang!"

Quota, BSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology.

The only work related use my cell phone gets is using tiger text (encrypted service) to message doctors.  The nurses on my unit were recently granted access to use tiger text, in general most nurses at our hospital do not have access to tiger text at this time.  I think we are in a pilot group getting access.  We still have hospital issued spectra link phones to use on our shift for normal communication.  In general some doctors are either not reachable through the hospital paging system or are just slow/bad at responding timely or at all.  So far all the doctors I’ve contacted through the tiger text system have responded quickly and things have gone much smoother than paging.  We do have to use our personal cell phones to use tiger text but it is an optional thing, not required.  I will say 90% of my tiger text usage has been with our oncologists who do know me vs medical attending I might not know well or at all.  

We did/do at one of my jobs. Now I feel almost hobbled when I want to get a quick message to a doc but have to go through the rigmarole of paging them and waiting for a call back. 

Whether I am at home or in my home health patient’s residence, or even in my car, my employers have expected me to use my personal cell phone, on or off duty to respond to their summons. This has gone on for many years now. Part of that beck and call mentality.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

I don't carry a cell phone.   Would I lose my job if I worked there?   Would they be willing to pay for hiring and training my replacement?   That's crazy!

So what is the plan if a Nurse breaks or looses their phone and doesn't have it available? They have to leave the patient or scream for help and hope someone hears?

 

On 7/16/2020 at 4:06 AM, krekear said:

This includes paging doctors, calling for assistance in rooms, and calling out in the event of an emergency. I work in labor and delivery and until recently we have always used wireless phones for these things - especially stat situations I.e baby in the bed, open the OR, calling for NICU, etc. 

They can not be serious! This basically places the responsibility for ensuring timely communication in an emergency situation onto the nurse's personal cell phone plan. Several hospitals that I have worked at have had black spots where you had no cell phone reception or where only certain carriers had reception.  I would reach out to risk management. Surely they see the huge problems (potential liability) with this idea.

Edited by kp2016

That’s basically my argument kp2016! With covid many of us have gotten so used to not keeping our cells with us. We have always used WiFi phones for communication. Anyone who works labor knows it’s very much a team sport - you need extra hands constantly! Recently our “refurbished WiFi phones” have been breaking so we have literally resorted to screaming for help or hitting the patient’s call bell (which doesn’t help because my unit does not respond well to call bells. It’s a part of our culture that needs to change esp not having the WiFi phones). Since this has been implemented I’ve literally delivered two of my own babies because I couldn’t get ahold of a doc fast enough.

And guess what? I JUST don't WANT TO USE MY CELL PHONE. Taking it in and out in patient rooms, having to potentially handle it with dirty gloves, having the volume on so personal and professional messages are constantly ringing, having to explain to the patient “no I’m not texting my boyfriend in front of you.” If I drop my phone while working - like pulling it out in an emergency - do I get reimbursed for damages? NOPE! When the *** WiFi cuts out, do I get reimbursed for data? NOPE! Management just keeps saying it’s the direction everyone is going - that’s really why I posted this, because I wanted to see if it’s true or not. 

MiladyMalarkey, ASN, BSN

Specializes in Neuro.

Suddenly I no longer carry a cell phone😄

That's kinda crazy in a hospital setting imo, in a home health setting I could kinda see maybe.  And I just think of all the dead zones in my facility, a cell would be worthless a good part of the time. 

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

Nope nope nope. Not only is it not HIPAA compliant and all the risk that goes with that, not only do they have to reimburse you for the cost of your phone if they do this.  If you have work stuff on your phone they are entitled to seize and wipe it before you leave if you quit or are fired. HARD NO. They do not have the right to "require" me to use my personal property in the care of patients. 

Under no circumstances would I comply with that only to get thrown under the bus later for actually going along with it.  If they want me to use a cell, they would need to provide me with an assigned phone, as far as the hospital is concerned I do not have a cell.  Unless they pay my phone bill it’s none of their GD business and they get no say in the matter.

On 7/16/2020 at 7:26 AM, caliotter3 said:

Whether I am at home or in my home health patient’s residence, or even in my car, my employers have expected me to use my personal cell phone, on or off duty to respond to their summons. This has gone on for many years now. Part of that beck and call mentality.

They expect it because nurses go along with their BS.

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care.

There are smartphone apps used in healthcare to communicate between  clinical staff and providers that are HIPAA-compliant. Our hospital uses Voalte Me which is one example of these apps. However, in our hospital nursing staff are provided older iPhone 6 smartphones that they carry during their shift that have the app pre-loaded. None of the nursing staff (or RT, Pharmacy, PT/OT/SLP) use their own personal smartphones for this. It's a different case for us providers however, some providers are fine using their own smartphone and have the app downloaded on their personal device.

Oooh...how did I miss this?!

No and absolutely not.

I do not pay for a cell phone so that someone else can use it for their business purposes. I suppose they could pay the bill, but they won't and even if they would pay the "work-related" portion of my bill I'm not doing extra work to comb through prove what portion of the use was work related. They would make this as ridiculous as possible. No...this is all...entirely...on them.

I will also never put their apps on my phone. I don't access their networks with my personal devices while at work or home.

They have never done anything to prove that they won't take advantage and start pushing any and all limits according to what they believe is in their business interests. Corporate fantasies; It is beyond pathetic to propose that entry-level workers provide this portion of their business needs.

Although mostly on principle, I absolutely would quit over this.

Edited by JKL33

verene, MSN

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

NO absolutely not. RNs have unit land-lines, work cell phone, radios, and emergency/personal-alarms all of which can be used to summon assistance. As an NP, RNs on my team can call my land-line/desk phone or call/text my work-cell phone.

 

Furthermore, I have found cell phones to be very unreliable.  How many times has someone said they called me and I see absolutely nothing on my phone history?  (Notwithstanding that they may be telling a lie about calling me).  How many times has a text or call notification taken more than 24 hours to "appear"?  How many times has a voicemail message disappeared into the ozone when I wanted to listen to it again?  For emergencies?  Ha!  How many times has a call dropped on me if I made a connection at all to begin with?  Far more reliable were wired landlines and hooked up answering machines. Maybe add a pager.  At least they worked.  One got something for their money.

WOW!, smh. If it was me in your situation. I would tell admin to send smoke signals but my phone is just that, mine and I regulate it.

Say what now?

Oh hell no! I'd request that new policy in writing then tell them no. It's not a fireable offense because it's an illegal request. This is one battle I would choose to fight.

I'd tell them no with a smile on my face because any adverse action is illegal. Type of ridiculous administration request is that? Hospitals are out of line and becoming increasingly ridiculous with their demands and borderline abuse....during an epidemic nonetheless. SMH

What if the service does not work in the hospital. Where I work once you get away from windows only one of the big carriers works. 

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