Are digital devices depriving healthcare professionals of their much needed sleep?

in Gadgets/Physician/Social Media/Technology by

In its most recent tweet chat and hangout on air,  #HealthXPh discussed “Distracted Doctoring“- healthcare professionals and patients getting distracted by digital devices and social media while at work. Whatever the causal factor is, no patient wants a distracted healthcare professional. HCPs do not want a distracted patient either.  That was straightforward from last week’s discussions.

But what if, the “distraction” happened outside of the hospital or clinics? What if  its effects extend into the healthcare professional’s work? Like lack of sleep?

There are studies showing sleep deprived medical interns and residents committing more serious medical errors.  This has led to regulations reducing work hours for interns and residents in the US.

So what about the other factors causing sleep deprivation in healthcare professionals?  I am talking about the use of electronic and digital devices that seem to preoccupy some HCPs at night.

Are digital devices like smartphones or tablets depriving HCPs of  their much needed sleep?


A number of studies showed a correlation between use of digital device at night and sleep deprivation among children. The latter made headlines that led some to propose banning of digital devices at night for children. One went ballistic opposing the move, pointing out serious flaws in the article.

I am tempted to telescope a conclusion by connecting the dots of these studies. I’m inclined to believe that use of digital devices at night may deprived human beings of their much needed sleep. I also tend to believe that sleep deprived healthcare professionals may commit medical errors in the clinics. Correlation and causality seem so close. Or are they?

Are digital devices really depriving  HCPs of their much needed sleep?

  • T1: Confess. Are you spending time on digital devices at night before going to bed?
  • T2: Define. What is excessive time on digital devices for you?
  • T3: Choose. How would you minimize sleep deprivation from digital use at night?

Join #HealthXPh as we tackle sleep deprivation on a timely change of schedule time slot-Saturday Night Live!  The tweet chat and Hangout on Air starts to unravel this Saturday May 24, 2014 9:00PM Manila time.



Annual Sleep in America Poll Exploring Connections with Communications Technology Use and Sleep

The Phantom Menace of Sleep-Deprived Doctors

10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12

10 Points Where the Research Behind Banning Handheld Devices for Children Is Flawed

10 Reasons Why We Need Research Literacy, Not Scare Columns

Social media main cause of sleep deprivation among students

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

How artificial light is wrecking your sleep, and what to do about it

The impact of light from computer monitors on melatonin levels in college students.

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (