Mobile Technology: a FATAL error

Mobile technology exists almost anywhere we go today. Whether we carry it with us or whether we just interact with it at work or school, mobile technology is a big part of our daily lives. But what happens when mobile technology takes complete control and affects the quality of our work?

The healthcare sector is one area where mobile technology is making a major impact. While hospital, physicians, and nurses have adopted mobile technology to help reduce errors, mobile technology seems to be doing just the opposite in this field.

More doctors and nurses are relying on mobile technology for day to day tasks. The technology is meant to help prevent common types of errors. However, some doctors have reported that there is a lack of control on these mobile devices. Doctors and nurses are using mobile phones and iPads to browse the internet at their own convenience. Anything from checking personal email, browsing Facebook, and shopping online goes. What is even scarier is that this is occurring during important surgeries and when attention should be on the patients – and not mobile technology.

Already, medical errors due to mobile technology have occurred. A neurosurgeon was making personal calls during a surgery. This resulted in the patient being paralyzed. In another report, 55% of technicians who monitor bypass machines during heart surgeries said they talked on their phones and half said they texted.

Some doctors are outraged by the abuse of mobile devices in the medical world. While some are trying to implement some kind of control, it seems to be a hard effort. Most medical schools now encourage students to use iPads while in schools. Some schools like the Stanford Medical School are even giving students free iPads. Once they begin their professional careers, it becomes hard to decrease dependence on such devices.

Personally, I think that this is a very scary situation. I understand that technology is just about everywhere, but to have doctors and technicians use mobile devices while a surgery is being performed – seems very frightening to me. There needs to be a stricter control system in place that monitors what devices can be brought into an operating room. Doctors should not be making personal phone calls while operating on someone and technicians should not be texting while monitoring operating machines.

With the types of quality control standards that we discussed in class (ISO 9000, Six Sigma, and the Baldrige performance) I think that hospitals should look at Baldrige criteria. One of the criteria in Baldrige performance is workforce focus. Workforce focus deals with the workforce environment and building an effective workforce environment. It also looks at how you can engage your workforce to achieve organizational and personal success. Mobile technology could be monitored by Baldrige criteria. By looking at these types of issues, hospitals could improve how technology in the work environment affects quality and success outcomes.

What do you think? What kind of measures could be implemented so that mobile technology is controlled better in hospitals?



Images like the one are the latest buzz at Apple this week. Customers complained that the new map software on the latest iOS 6 was not performing up to standards. Satellite images (like the one pictured here) were looking strange and locations were showing up inaccurately.

CEO, Tim Cook, immediately issued an apology in regards to this issue, something very unusual of Apple to do. Google, who holds the Android smartphone market, saw this as an immediate opportunity to intervene. Google explained to Apple customers that they could use Google Maps through their web browser.

The intervention from Google comes after a long love-hate relationship between Google and Apple. Originally, Google Maps was installed on the first iPhone. Apple dropped the competitor recently in order to pursue their own breakthrough invention of maps software.

However, as it turns out, this investment fell a little short. It seems that while Apple was hoping for a breakthrough improvement in their maps software, they did not get what they bargained for. Apple worked with experts in map navigation to help with the Apple version of maps. One of Google’s chairmen stated that Apple would have been better of retaining the original Google Maps.

This issue reminds me a little of the class activity of the story of William Sowden Sims. In the story, Sims, a young naval artillery officer, tries to write letters to his superior officers, telling them that he knows how to improve firing accuracy in the United States Navy. However, all of the letters are rejected again and again because the navigators, the most important in the Navy, believed that they knew everything about firing accuracy. It seems that Apple could learn some things from the story of Sims. Apple decided to step away from Google Maps because they believed that they knew how to do things the best way. Ultimately, this carried them away from something very simple such as testing the product out enough before users got it.

In the meantime, Apple stated that customers could use alternative map sources  (Google was even mentioned, but only at the very end of the list). Regardless of this mishap, Apple CEO encouraged customers to continue to use Apple’s maps, stating: “the more our customers use our Maps the better it will get.”

This current issue brings back memories of the original launch of the first iPhone, when customers complained about the price being too high. Shortly after complaints, Apple adjusted prices of the iPhone to satisfy customer’s expectations of price. It seems that Apple will try and use this tactic once more here to solve the problem, this time the focus will only be on improving the maps software.

Do you think it was okay for Apple to launch maps software to the public when they did not fully test it out before? Do you think Apple’s apology was an effective method of coping with the criticism and problem?

Source: Wall Street Journal