A systematic review of the psychological literature on interruption and its patient safety implications

Yau Wai, Simon LI, Farah MAGRABI, Enrico COIERA

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To understand the complex effects of interruption in healthcare. Materials and methods: As interruptions have been well studied in other domains, the authors undertook a systematic review of experimental studies in psychology and human–computer interaction to identify the task types and variables influencing interruption effects. Results: 63 studies were identified from 812 articles retrieved by systematic searches. On the basis of interruption profiles for generic tasks, it was found that clinical tasks can be distinguished into three broad types: procedural, problem-solving, and decision-making. Twelve experimental variables that influence interruption effects were identified. Of these, six are the most important, based on the number of studies and because of their centrality to interruption effects, including working memory load, interruption position, similarity, modality, handling strategies, and practice effect. The variables are explained by three main theoretical frameworks: the activation-based goal memory model, prospective memory, and multiple resource theory. Discussion: This review provides a useful starting point for a more comprehensive examination of interruptions potentially leading to an improved understanding about the impact of this phenomenon on patient safety and task efficiency. The authors provide some recommendations to counter interruption effects. Conclusion: The effects of interruption are the outcome of a complex set of variables and should not be considered as uniformly predictable or bad. The task types, variables, and theories should help us better to identify which clinical tasks and contexts are most susceptible and assist in the design of information systems and processes that are resilient to interruption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-12
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

Fingerprint

Episodic Memory
Patient Safety
Short-Term Memory
Information Systems
Decision Making
Psychology
Delivery of Health Care
Efficiency
Practice (Psychology)

Cite this

@article{6f46f0ef3d8c4886bc3f0a003979d3e1,
title = "A systematic review of the psychological literature on interruption and its patient safety implications",
abstract = "Objective: To understand the complex effects of interruption in healthcare. Materials and methods: As interruptions have been well studied in other domains, the authors undertook a systematic review of experimental studies in psychology and human–computer interaction to identify the task types and variables influencing interruption effects. Results: 63 studies were identified from 812 articles retrieved by systematic searches. On the basis of interruption profiles for generic tasks, it was found that clinical tasks can be distinguished into three broad types: procedural, problem-solving, and decision-making. Twelve experimental variables that influence interruption effects were identified. Of these, six are the most important, based on the number of studies and because of their centrality to interruption effects, including working memory load, interruption position, similarity, modality, handling strategies, and practice effect. The variables are explained by three main theoretical frameworks: the activation-based goal memory model, prospective memory, and multiple resource theory. Discussion: This review provides a useful starting point for a more comprehensive examination of interruptions potentially leading to an improved understanding about the impact of this phenomenon on patient safety and task efficiency. The authors provide some recommendations to counter interruption effects. Conclusion: The effects of interruption are the outcome of a complex set of variables and should not be considered as uniformly predictable or bad. The task types, variables, and theories should help us better to identify which clinical tasks and contexts are most susceptible and assist in the design of information systems and processes that are resilient to interruption.",
author = "LI, {Yau Wai, Simon} and Farah MAGRABI and Enrico COIERA",
year = "2012",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1136/amiajnl-2010-000024",
language = "English",
volume = "19",
pages = "6--12",
journal = "Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA",
issn = "1067-5027",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "1",

}

A systematic review of the psychological literature on interruption and its patient safety implications. / LI, Yau Wai, Simon; MAGRABI, Farah; COIERA, Enrico.

In: Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Vol. 19, No. 1, 01.01.2012, p. 6-12.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - A systematic review of the psychological literature on interruption and its patient safety implications

AU - LI, Yau Wai, Simon

AU - MAGRABI, Farah

AU - COIERA, Enrico

PY - 2012/1/1

Y1 - 2012/1/1

N2 - Objective: To understand the complex effects of interruption in healthcare. Materials and methods: As interruptions have been well studied in other domains, the authors undertook a systematic review of experimental studies in psychology and human–computer interaction to identify the task types and variables influencing interruption effects. Results: 63 studies were identified from 812 articles retrieved by systematic searches. On the basis of interruption profiles for generic tasks, it was found that clinical tasks can be distinguished into three broad types: procedural, problem-solving, and decision-making. Twelve experimental variables that influence interruption effects were identified. Of these, six are the most important, based on the number of studies and because of their centrality to interruption effects, including working memory load, interruption position, similarity, modality, handling strategies, and practice effect. The variables are explained by three main theoretical frameworks: the activation-based goal memory model, prospective memory, and multiple resource theory. Discussion: This review provides a useful starting point for a more comprehensive examination of interruptions potentially leading to an improved understanding about the impact of this phenomenon on patient safety and task efficiency. The authors provide some recommendations to counter interruption effects. Conclusion: The effects of interruption are the outcome of a complex set of variables and should not be considered as uniformly predictable or bad. The task types, variables, and theories should help us better to identify which clinical tasks and contexts are most susceptible and assist in the design of information systems and processes that are resilient to interruption.

AB - Objective: To understand the complex effects of interruption in healthcare. Materials and methods: As interruptions have been well studied in other domains, the authors undertook a systematic review of experimental studies in psychology and human–computer interaction to identify the task types and variables influencing interruption effects. Results: 63 studies were identified from 812 articles retrieved by systematic searches. On the basis of interruption profiles for generic tasks, it was found that clinical tasks can be distinguished into three broad types: procedural, problem-solving, and decision-making. Twelve experimental variables that influence interruption effects were identified. Of these, six are the most important, based on the number of studies and because of their centrality to interruption effects, including working memory load, interruption position, similarity, modality, handling strategies, and practice effect. The variables are explained by three main theoretical frameworks: the activation-based goal memory model, prospective memory, and multiple resource theory. Discussion: This review provides a useful starting point for a more comprehensive examination of interruptions potentially leading to an improved understanding about the impact of this phenomenon on patient safety and task efficiency. The authors provide some recommendations to counter interruption effects. Conclusion: The effects of interruption are the outcome of a complex set of variables and should not be considered as uniformly predictable or bad. The task types, variables, and theories should help us better to identify which clinical tasks and contexts are most susceptible and assist in the design of information systems and processes that are resilient to interruption.

UR - http://commons.ln.edu.hk/sw_master/446

U2 - 10.1136/amiajnl-2010-000024

DO - 10.1136/amiajnl-2010-000024

M3 - Journal Article (refereed)

VL - 19

SP - 6

EP - 12

JO - Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA

JF - Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA

SN - 1067-5027

IS - 1

ER -