Primary Salvage Survey of the Interference of Radiowaves Emitted by Smartphones on Medical Equipment

Health Phys. 2016 Oct;111(4):381-92. doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000535.


Use of mobile phones has become a standard reality of everyday living for many people worldwide, including medical professionals, as data sharing has drastically helped to improve quality of care. This increase in the use of mobile phones within hospitals and medical facilities has raised concern regarding the influence of radio waves on medical equipment. Although comprehensive studies have examined the effects of electromagnetic interference from 2G wireless communication and personal digital cellular systems on medical equipment, similar studies on more recent wireless technologies such as Long Term Evolution, wideband code division multiple access, and high-speed uplink access have yet to be published. Numerous tests targeting current wireless technologies were conducted between December 2012 and March 2013 in an anechoic chamber, shielded from external radio signals, with a dipole antenna to assess the effects of smartphone interference on several types of medical equipment. The interference produced by electromagnetic waves across five frequency bands from four telecommunication standards was assessed on 49 components from 22 pieces of medical equipment. Of the 22 pieces of medical equipment tested, 13 experienced interference at maximum transmission power. In contrast, at minimum transmission power, the maximum interference distance varied from 2 to 5 cm for different wireless devices. Four machines were affected at the minimum transmission power, and the maximum interference distance at the maximum transmission power was 38 cm. Results show that the interference from smartphones on medical equipment is very controllable.

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts*
  • Electronics, Medical / classification
  • Electronics, Medical / instrumentation
  • Electronics, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Equipment Failure Analysis / statistics & numerical data
  • Equipment and Supplies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Japan
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radio Waves
  • Smartphone / classification
  • Smartphone / instrumentation*
  • Smartphone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires