The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the perceptions of Australian anaesthetists in relation to smartphone use within anaesthetic practice. In particular, we aimed to assess the frequency of smartphone use, the types and number of smartphone applications used, how reliant anaesthetists perceive themselves to be on smartphones and whether they perceive them to be a factor that aids or distracts from their practice. Secondly, we assessed whether there is an association between the type, frequency, reliance and perceptions of smartphone use and the years of experience as an anaesthetist. A 24-item questionnaire addressing these questions was created and distributed to an email list of credentialled anaesthetists in Melbourne, Australia. A total of 113 consultant anaesthetists who practise at 55 hospitals in Melbourne completed the questionnaire. Our results suggest that the majority of anaesthetists are using smartphones regularly in their practice. About 74% of respondents agreed that they rely on their smartphone for their work. We found that respondents were more likely to rely on smartphones and consider them to aid patient safety than to consider them a distraction. This phenomenon was particularly apparent in those who had been a consultant anaesthetist for less than three years. Furthermore, those who had been a consultant anaesthetist for less than three years were more likely to have more smartphone apps relating to anaesthetics, use them more often and rely on them to a greater degree. Our results highlight the ubiquitous and perceived useful nature of smartphones in anaesthetic practice.
- mobile application
- patient safety