Interrupted Doctors Spend Less Time on Clinical Tasks

Emergency department physicians do not return to nearly one in five interrupted tasks
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- Emergency department doctors who are interrupted may decrease the time they spend on clinical tasks and even delay or fail to return to some tasks, which could have a negative impact on patient safety, according to a study published online May 12 in Quality and Safety in Health Care.

In a prospective observational time and motion study in the emergency department of a 400-bed teaching hospital, Johanna I. Westbrook, Ph.D., of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues observed 40 doctors for 210.45 hours to measure the association between rates of interruption and times and rates of task completion.

The researchers found that doctors were interrupted 6.6 times per hour, with 11 percent of tasks interrupted and 3.3 percent interrupted more than once. In addition, doctors multitasked 12.8 percent of the time. Interruptions were linked to a significant increase in time on task, however, doctors finished interrupted tasks in a shorter time than uninterrupted tasks when the researchers accounted for length-biased sampling. In addition, doctors did not return to 18.5 percent of interrupted tasks.

"Task shortening may occur because interrupted tasks are truncated to 'catch up' for lost time, which may have significant implications for patient safety," the authors write.

Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Powered by

jQuery UI Accordion - Default functionality

For life-long learning and continuing professional development, come to Lippincott's NursingCenter.

Nursing Jobs Plus
Featured Jobs
Recommended CE Articles Recommended Nursing Articles

Meeting the Needs of Family Members of ICU Patients
Critical Care Nursing Quarterly, October/December 2014
Free access will expire on December 22, 2014.


Dealing with the specter of phantom limb pain
Nursing2014 , November 2014
Free access will expire on December 8, 2014.


The Power of Nursing Peer Review
JONA: Journal of Nursing Administration, November 2014
Free access will expire on December 8, 2014.


More Recommended Articles

Subscribe to Recommended Articles

Evidence Based Practice Skin Care Network NursingCenter Quick Links What’s Trending Events