Brave new world as cellphones and Wi-Fi now allowed at MUHC
Published Thursday, November 1, 2012 10:16PM EDT
MONTREAL—No more waiting with old magazines. On Thursday, the McGill University Health Centre became the first hospital in Quebec to allow patients and visitors to use their cell phones within the institution.
Although some restrictions will still apply, cell phones will be permitted in most waiting areas, clinics and patient rooms throughout the six sites of the MUHC.
While we have been warned for years of the dangers of cell phones near hospital equipment, the MUHC’s security coordinator has concluded newer cell phones don't interfere with medical gear, allowing the hospital to join the wired world.
The MUHC will also begin installing public Wi-Fi across its network.
The change means that people in most parts of the hospital can stay in touch with family and friends. For patients like Caitlin, having access to free Wi-Fi makes her stay a lot easier.
“I just use it to go on Facebook and check my emails, nothing too serious, but it's nice that I can connect with people,” said Caitlin from her hospital bed.
Doctors and nurses will also be better connected as patient vitals can now be transmitted through smartphones.
“No matter where they are in the hospital, especially physicians who travel all over the hospital, they have easy access to the information about their patient,” said Melanie Leonard, a nurse manager at the MUHC.
Of course there are some concerns and staff will try to monitor where people take pictures.
“You can take a picture and without knowing it you've captured the content of a computer screen,” said Martin Fiset, speaking for MUHC security.
The largest concern may be cellphone users who are less than courteous and don’t turn off loud ringers, buzzing features or simply speak loudly.
But for better or worse, the digital age has finally arrived in the hospital and patients like Caitlin will appreciate it. Her time at the hospital just got less lonely.