A systematic literature review was carried out to study patient security and possible harmful effects, immunity and interferences on medical devices, and effectiveness and transmission problems in healthcare and hospital environments due to electromagnetic interferences. The objective was to determine already-reported cases of patient security, immunity of medical devices, and transmission/reception failure in order to evaluate safety and security of patients. Literature published in the last 10 years has been reviewed by searching in bibliographic databases, journals, and proceedings of conferences. Search strategies developed in electronic databases identified a total of 820 references, with 50 finally being included. The study reveals the existence of numerous publications on interferences in medical devices due to radiofrequency fields. However, literature on effectiveness, transmission problems and measurements of electromagnetic fields is limited. From the studies collected, it can be concluded that several cases of serious interferences in medical instruments have been reported. Measures of electromagnetic fields in healthcare environments have been also reported, concluding that special protective measures should be taken against electromagnetic interferences by incoming radio waves.
* Telemedicine and eHealth research Unit, Health Institute Carlos III, C/Sinesio Delgado 6, 28029 Madrid, Spain; † Department of Engineering, Hospital Universitario de Canarias, Ofra, s/n. La Cuesta, 38320, La Laguna (Santa Cruz de Tenerife), Spain; ‡ Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Dpto. Especialidades Médicas, Campus Universitario Crta. de Madrid-Barcelona, Km. 33,600, 28871, Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), Spain.
For correspondence or reprints contact: Victoria Ramos, Telemedicine and eHealth research Unit, Health Institute Carlos III, C/Sinesio Delgado 6, 28029 Madrid, Spain, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Manuscript accepted 7 July 2010).