by Veronica Combs
There are about eight halls of exhibitors at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show and I swear at least one of them was full of iPhone cases and nothing else. I just bought a Droid Razr and I hate the Otter Box that I bought with it, so I was quite disgusted that I couldn’t find an alternative in this sea of cases.
Anyway, there were several practical iPhone and iPad accessories at the show, mixed in with the Spider-Man and jeweled options. Here are three that would keep your Apple device safe no matter what job you have in healthcare:
This booth had several small stages with a chef, a firefighter, and a doctor — each one explaining the merits of this protector. It is a thin, polycarbonate frame that goes around the device.
It’s waterproof up to 6.6-feet deep for 30 minutes and keeps out dust. The nice part about the waterproof seal is that it goes around the edge of the screen, so you can still touch it directly. Water can touch the screen but not get inside the device or touch any of the plugs.
LifeProof also has two straps that seem perfect for a nurse or doctor. One fits diagonally across the back of the iPad and the other is a shoulder strap.
The Joy Factory
C-clamp Mount from The Joy Factory
This company also had a great case and an awesome accessory. To illustrate how strong the case is, people were shooting bean bags at it. If a dangling device suffered a direct hit, it splashed down into the tank beneath. Cool factor? The aXtion pro case floats. The case goes on sale in April.
The company also makes BubbleShield bags with a big ring at the top. They’re like stylish Ziploc bags for your iPhone — perfect for those days when you are canoeing down the river.
The accessory is a wheelchair mount for iPads and other tablets. The arm attaches with a C-clamp designed to fit around a tube or other curved surface. The tablet snaps into the protective hard-shell tray, which in turn screws to the mounting brackets. A magnet connects the tablet to the arm of the mount.
Barry Lieberman of Joy Factory said the company donated some of the mounts to soldiers at a VA hospital in Texas and that scientists in the spinal research lab at the University of California Irvine were using the mounts as well.
Joy Factory was recognized at the show as a 2013 Design and Engineering Awards honoree.
If you want an invisible cloak of protection, I found two options: one is available now, the other is still coming to America. For readers everywhere else in the world, you’re in luck.
Liquipel is the one you can get now. You can buy a device treated with this self-sealing
nanocoating that protects your phone if it falls into water. The entire phone — guts and all — is coated, so no more rice treatments if your phone falls into the toilet. Currently, you can buy Asus, Samsung, Motorola and HTC products as well as Apples.
DryWired is also a nanocoating, but it protects against bacteria and corrosion as well as water. The treatment has been applied to printed circuit boards, cellphones, tablets, medical electronics, aircraft foam, plastics and cloth without changing the look or feel of the product. That was the “oooo” demonstration at the booth: “Here, touch this tissue, feels normal, right? But look, it doesn’t disintegrate in water.”
DryWired licenses the technology from EuroPlamsa, a Belgian company. The Los Angeles company is working with manufacturers to get electronics and other components treated with the coating right in the factory.
The news that some employers have asked for direct access to the Facebook accounts -- including user names and passwords -- of people applying for jobs at their firms has set off a firestorm of controversy.
The reports have raised questions about whether the practice is illegal and if such a policy could expose those employers to potential discrimination lawsuits. The dust-up has even triggered calls by some in Congress for a federal investigation into the practice.
But those recent events only highlight a new reality: The identity that individuals create in the world of social media is quickly becoming an important factor in hiring decisions and in people's broader professional lives.
"The questions around employer access to social network log-ins reflect a broader debate in society about a host of digital privacy issues," says Andrea Matwyshyn, a Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics. "This is a new concern -- the degree to which employers can gain access to all role identities through one virtual space. There is no parallel to that in the real world."
While the reaction to the practice has been swift and intense, it's hard to predict if it will become a lasting trend.
But, Matwyshyn says, she began hearing about employers requesting access to the Facebook accounts of potential hires as far back as 2008. To date, however, she says, there is no good data on how widespread the practice has become.
The fact that it exists at all is not entirely unexpected: According to Matwyshyn, a number of studies show that most employers look at candidates' online profiles when making hiring decisions, noting a 2011 survey by social-media monitoring service Reppler that found that 91 percent of recruiters report using social-networking sites to evaluate job applicants.
But checking out a publicly available profile on Facebook -- or even asking a job candidate to "friend" someone in human resources at a company where they are applying for a position -- is worlds apart from gaining unfettered access to someone's account through a password.
"If you can take Facebook passwords, what about Gmail passwords?" asks Stuart Soffer, a non-residential fellow at The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School and managing director of IPriori, an intellectual-property consulting firm.
If left unchecked, Soffer says, the practice could expand beyond human resource departments evaluating potential employees.
"What about allowing Facebook access to insurers so they can see what you are saying about your health?" he says. "They could use it as a basis for judging the risk of insuring you."
The request for access to log-in information also raises some serious legal questions.
Clearly concerned about the legal and business implications of privacy breaches, Facebook has come out against the practice, stating that sharing or soliciting a Facebook password is a violation of the company's statement of rights and responsibilities.
"We don't think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don't think it's the right thing to do," Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan says. "But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating."
Matwyshyn says employers could be essentially asking job candidates to violate their contract with Facebook if they ask for passwords, creating "an untenable conflict between contract law and employers' perceptions of their own interest in vetting candidates."
In addition, if a Facebook account includes information on an applicant's race or age, for example, that could potentially expose the employer to claims of discriminatory hiring practices. According to Matwyshyn, it is legally hazy whether accessing someone's Facebook account where that information is available is akin to asking it in the interview.
"Arguments can be made that this is a back-door method to gaining information that the prospective employer wouldn't otherwise have access to," she says.
Meanwhile, the issue is getting the attention of Congress. Senate Democrats Charles Schumer and Richard Blumenthal, from New York and Connecticut respectively, have asked the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to look into the practice.
But even if it is eventually prohibited or otherwise curbed through legal or legislative channels, Wharton management professor Nancy Rothbard predicts that the use of social media in hiring decisions will continue to be a flashpoint in the years ahead.
"The core of the problem is the blending of personal and professional lives," Rothbard says. "We are still in the infancy of trying to understand how to deal with all this."
Opening the Window -- and Closing a Door?
Just how far employers can legally go to check out job candidates online may not be clear -- but why they are looking for new methods of evaluating applicants is easy to understand, says Wharton management professor Adam Grant.
Research, he says, has shown that the typical job interview is a poor tool for predicting which candidates will succeed. If that does not work, companies need to find something that does.
"Applicants are very motivated to put their best foot forward in an interview," Grant says. "It is very difficult to spot the people who will represent an organization well. But on Facebook, you can see the applicant making day-to-day decisions -- it is a window into how an individual is likely to act."
In fact, recent research has provided evidence that online profiles can be very revealing about specific personality traits.
A paper published recently in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology entitled, "Social Networking Websites, Personality Ratings, and the Organizational Context: More Than Meets the Eye," studied 518 undergraduate students and their Facebook profiles.
The researchers found that the Facebook profiles were a good predictor of the so-called "big five personality traits:" conscientiousness, agreeableness, extroversion, emotional stability and openness. And for a subset of the group where the researchers were able to contact supervisors at companies that had hired those students, there was a correlation between scores on two personality traits -- emotional stability and agreeableness -- and job performance. (SeeHREOnlineTM story here.)
"There is strong evidence that social networking is a valid way of assessing someone's personality," says Donald Kluemper, a professor of management at the Northern Illinois University College of Business and a co-author of the study.
But he says that does not mean there is evidence that an unstructured perusal of a Facebook account will result in better hiring decisions.
"Until a method is validated in a number of ways, including a study of adverse impacts and the legal issues, I wouldn't recommend companies rely on social-networking profiles," Kluemper says.
Now, the use of social-media information is far from fine-tuned, with recruiters typically checking out social media to get a general sense of the person applying for a job or to hunt for any red flags. But it is possible the use of that information could become more sophisticated.
"People are mining that data right now for other purposes, including targeting ads to the right people," says Shawndra Hill, a Wharton operations and information management professor. "It is not out of the realm of possibility to focus that on other outcomes, like how good a match someone is for a job or whether there is a high likelihood they might do something illegal."
While the value of that data may be apparent, it remains to be seen how social media should ultimately fit into some aspects of professional life.
Take the less-controversial practice of managers' friending their colleagues through Facebook. Rothbard says this practice creates numerous potential headaches. Two years ago, she and some colleagues did a series of interviews with 20 people at a variety of levels and in a number of different industries, and found that people were often unnerved friending either bosses or subordinates.
"People felt very uncomfortable with crossing the private and professional boundary when it came to the hierarchy [within an organization]," Rothbard says. "They talked about friending their bosses with similar discomfort and language as they did when they spoke about friending their moms."
Interestingly, Rothbard adds, the rules for social networking in the workplace may differ based on gender.
She led a study of 400 students in which participants were shown Facebook profiles, told that the person was either a boss, a peer or a subordinate, and then asked to rate the individuals based on how likely they were to accept that person's friend request.
The findings: Female bosses with bare-bones profiles were less likely to be accepted than those who revealed more personal information, while the opposite pattern held for male bosses.
"Women who have limited profiles are more likely to be shunned than the women who have a more active presence," Rothbard says. "People see them as cold. But male bosses who reveal less information are more likely to be accepted than those who reveal a lot of information."
The increased scrutiny of people's virtual lives may change the way individuals operate in the social-networking realm.
According to Rothbard, there are essentially four ways of dealing with privacy issues. There are those who control their list of friends carefully, rejecting friend requests from people with whom they don't want to share personal information. Then, there are those who accept virtually all requests, but are very careful about what they post, limiting that content to very safe, less revealing information.
There is also a hybrid approach in which people use privacy settings to share some information with close friends and less-sensitive material with others. And, finally, there is the "let it all hang out" crowd -- those who are comfortable sharing all their information with a large group of close (and not so close) friends.
Grant predicts more people will opt for the more-controlled, filtered approach as they realize their social-media profiles are being scrutinized by potential employers.
"As employers gain this information, so do candidates," Grant points out. "So candidates may use Facebook more carefully and remove the cues that are so valuable [to employers]."
Soffer agrees people will become much more careful about their social-media personas.
"There are ways around this," Soffer says of the unwanted exposure of social-media behavior. "One thing that could happen is people will start having two Facebook accounts." One will be for close friends; the other, a more sanitized version for employers.
But there is always the potential that something posted for viewing by a small group of close friends on Facebook could get out into larger circulation. And for that reason, some argue, the risks of being active in the social-media space outweigh the benefits.
"If you are a CEO, or aspire to be a CEO or director of a public company, I think it makes sense to refrain from social networking," says Dennis Carey, vice chairman at Korn/Ferry International. "There are other ways to communicate with employees and the outside world through properly controlled channels. Some of the messages that are conveyed can be misconstrued or taken out of context by a third party."
The fear of a photo or comment made long ago coming back to haunt you is hardly unfounded. Because sites such as Facebook have been around less than a decade, it is not certain how long someone's social-networking history will remain accessible.
"It is unclear how long the information persists," Hill says. "Firms have different privacy policies, and often privacy policies change over time. While there are policies that allow for deleting data you no longer want on the site, it is hard to guarantee that this information won't live on a database somewhere."
The controversy worries some fans of the social-media revolution.
"I worry that there is already a sense right now that our participation online may come back to haunt us," says Chris Ridder, co-founder of the law firm Ridder, Costa & Johnstone and a non-residential fellow at The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.
"It inhibits our ability to express ourselves," he says. "If we can only express public relations-like statements, it takes away a good bit of the utility of the Internet. I think it would be a shame if we were to lose the playful aspect of this new technology."
How would you feel if someone asked for your account information to Facebook or Twitter in an interview? What if your boss did it? Do you think this is a privacy violation? Should there be legislation on this? Let us know in the comments; we want to hear from you!
According to a recent survey conducted by Wolters Kluwer Health’s Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), 71 percent of nurses are already using smartphones for their job. The survey included responses from 3,900 nurses and nursing students. About 66 percent of those nursing students surveyed said they use their smartphones for nursing school.
Overall, 85 percent of the nurses and nursing students said they want a smartphone app version of LWW’s Nursing 2013 Drug Handbook. Some 87 percent of those surveyed said they would want a smartphone app version of the text as well as a print version.
This month LWW plans to launch its first mobile app version of the handbook. The new forthcoming app includes nearly 900 drug monographs addressing more than 3,000 generic and brand name drugs. The app also offers a dosage calculator, pill images, detailed monographs and weekly drug updates. The app will work on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices once it launches later this month.
Earlier this year the New York Times reported on the effects of the increased adoption of smartphones among students at nursing schools: “The most profound recent change is a move away from the profession’s dependence on committing vast amounts of information to memory. It is not that nurses need to know less, educators say, but that the amount of essential data has exploded,” the Times wrote.
In January Massachusetts General Hospital also announced plans to equip its nurses with iPhones thanks to a recent deal with Voalte. Voalte’s offering combines high-definition voice calls, critical care alarms and presence-based text features and is intended for use by staff in acute care hospitals in the US and Canada — especially nurses. The company has helped a number of healthcare facilities equip their nurses with smartphones, including, Cedars-Sinai, Nebraska Medical Center, Texas Children’s, Heartland Health, Huntington Hospital, and Sarasota Memorial.
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
New York Times (reprint)
THESE days, when a nursing student at the University of Iowa fields a question about a drug, “the answer is often, ‘I don’t know, but give me a few seconds,’ and she pulls out her phone,” according to Joann Eland, an associate professor there.
In just a few years, technology has revolutionized what it means to go to nursing school, in ways more basic — and less obvious to the patient — than learning how to use the latest medical equipment. Nursing schools use increasingly sophisticated mannequins to provide realistic but risk-free experience; in the online world Second Life, students’ avatars visit digital clinics to assess digital patients. But the most profound recent change is a move away from the profession’s dependence on committing vast amounts of information to memory. It is not that nurses need to know less, educators say, but that the amount of essential data has exploded.
“There are too many drugs now, too many interactions, too many tests, to memorize everything you would need to memorize,” says Ms. Eland, a specialist in uses of technology. “We can’t rely nearly as much as we used to on the staff knowing the right dose or the right timing.”
Five years ago, most American hospital wards still did not have electronic patient records, or Internet connections. Now, many provide that access with computers not just at a central nurse’s station but also at the patient’s bedside. The latest transition is to smartphones and tablet computers, which have become mandatory at some nursing schools.
“We have a certain set of apps that we want nursing students to have on their handheld devices — a book of lab tests, a database of drugs, even nursing textbooks,” says Helen R. Connors, executive director of the Kansas University Center for Health Informatics. Visiting alumni, she says, are shocked to see students not carrying physical textbooks to class.
But technology carries risks as well. So much data is available that students can get overwhelmed, and educators say that a growing part of their work is teaching how to retrieve information quickly and separate what is credible, relevant and up-to-date from what is not. (Hint: look for the seal of approval of Health on the Net.)
They also worry that students rely too much on digital tools at the expense of patient interaction and learning.“There’s a danger that having that technology at the point of care at the bedside creates a misperception that students don’t need to know their stuff,” says Jennifer Elison, chairwoman of the nursing department at Carroll College in Helena, Mont.
“I get worried when I hear about nursing programs that want to replace the person-to-person clinical experience with increased hours with simulation,” she says. “We hear sometimes that it feels to patients that the computers are more important than they are.”
Then there’s the patient privacy issue in the era of blogging, Facebook and Twitter. How to properly use social media has become standard in the curriculum, thanks in part to what is known in nursing circles as “the placenta incident.” Four nursing students at a community college in Kansas posted Facebook photos of themselves with a human placenta. The students were expelled in 2010, and later reinstated, but the episode showed how murky the boundaries of privacy and professionalism can be. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing recently published guidelines on social media.
“That is the new hot issue now,” Ms. Elison says. “That’s been hard, because this is a generation that immediately hits that send button.”