Feeds

Explosion of DANGEROUS IT GEAR injures and CRIPPLES MEDICS

Shocking 'effects of computer use on the human body'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

It's not MRSA, radiation leaking from equipment nor the threat of being crushed like a paper cup beneath a tumbling obese patient which is threatening doctors at work: the fastest-rising danger to medics is computers and IT, according to a Cornell University study.

A federal cash injection of $20bn into digitising the US health industry has improved the technology used in healthcare and storing patient records. But all the new IT is set to badly harm if not cripple doctors - a finding Reg readers may take an interest in as professionals who are exposed to these frighful engines of death all the time, getting no relatively safe intervals dealing with diseased patients, surgical lasers, drugs, bone saws etc.

Alan Hedge, a professor of Human Factors and Ergonomics at Cornell, has claimed that doctors are suffering from "an explosion of musculoskeletal injuries", and has written a report to highlight his concerns.

The majority of female doctors, and more than 40 percent of male doctors, complain of neck, shoulder and upper and lower back pain on at least a weekly basis, his survey findings show. The professor cited interviews with 179 physicians held over two days. About 40 percent of women and 30 percent of men reported right wrist injuries at a similar frequency.

Neck discomfort was the worst: 80 per cent of women experienced it and more than 50 per cent of men. Doctors also complained of suffering from tennis elbow after carrying around a tablet computer.

The injuries are worse for female doctors because they tended to use the computer for an hour extra each day, Hedge said. This is possibly because they tend to be younger than their male counterparts and used technology rather than traditional methods such as dictation.

The only way to save these professionals from silicon-powered hell is to teach them to sit better, Hedge concluded, and to design offices more ergonomically:

In a lot of hospitals and medical offices, workplace safety focuses on preventing slips, trips and falls and on patient handling, but the effects of computer use on the human body are neglected.

Doctors are set to use computers more and more, so the likelihood of injury will only increase unless something is done:

With so many potential negative effects for doctors and patients, it is critical that the implementation of new technology is considered from a design and ergonomics perspective.

Gender Effects on Musculoskeletal Symptoms among Physician Computer Users in Outpatient Diagnostic Clinics was published in Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 56th Annual Meeting, by Alan Hedge and Tamara James. It is available from Cornell. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS
YouGov poll reveals terrible truth about the enemy within
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?