Challenges in measuring the impact of interruption on patient safety and workflow outcomes

Farah MAGRABI, Yau Wai, Simon LI, A. G. DUNN, Enrico COIERA

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

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To examine the problem of studying interruption in healthcare. Methods: Review of the interruption literature from psychology, human-computer interaction; experimental studies of electronic prescribing and error behaviour; observational studies in emergency and intensive care. Results: Primary task and interruption variables which contribute to the outcomes of an interruption include the type of task (primary and interrupting task); point of interruption; duration of interruption; similarity of interruptive task to primary task; modality of interruption; environmental cues; and interruption handling strategy. Effects of interruption on task performance can be examined by measuring errors, the time on task, interruption lag and resumption lag. Conclusions: Interruptions are a complex phenomenon where multiple variables including the characteristics of primary tasks, the interruptions themselves, and the environment may influence patient safety and workflow outcomes. Observational studies present significant challenges for recording many of the process variables that influence the effects of interruptions. Controlled experiments provide an opportunity to examine the specific effects of variables on errors and efficiency. Computational models can be used to identify the situations in which interruptions to clinical tasks could be disruptive and to investigate the aggregate effects of interruptions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-453
Number of pages7
JournalMethods of Information in Medicine
Volume50
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Workflow
Patient Safety
Observational Studies
Electronic Prescribing
Task Performance and Analysis
Emergency Medical Services
Critical Care
Cues
Psychology
Delivery of Health Care
Efficiency

Cite this

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title = "Challenges in measuring the impact of interruption on patient safety and workflow outcomes",
abstract = "Objective: To examine the problem of studying interruption in healthcare. Methods: Review of the interruption literature from psychology, human-computer interaction; experimental studies of electronic prescribing and error behaviour; observational studies in emergency and intensive care. Results: Primary task and interruption variables which contribute to the outcomes of an interruption include the type of task (primary and interrupting task); point of interruption; duration of interruption; similarity of interruptive task to primary task; modality of interruption; environmental cues; and interruption handling strategy. Effects of interruption on task performance can be examined by measuring errors, the time on task, interruption lag and resumption lag. Conclusions: Interruptions are a complex phenomenon where multiple variables including the characteristics of primary tasks, the interruptions themselves, and the environment may influence patient safety and workflow outcomes. Observational studies present significant challenges for recording many of the process variables that influence the effects of interruptions. Controlled experiments provide an opportunity to examine the specific effects of variables on errors and efficiency. Computational models can be used to identify the situations in which interruptions to clinical tasks could be disruptive and to investigate the aggregate effects of interruptions.",
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Challenges in measuring the impact of interruption on patient safety and workflow outcomes. / MAGRABI, Farah; LI, Yau Wai, Simon; DUNN, A. G.; COIERA, Enrico.

In: Methods of Information in Medicine, Vol. 50, No. 5, 01.01.2011, p. 447-453.

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

TY - JOUR

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AU - MAGRABI, Farah

AU - LI, Yau Wai, Simon

AU - DUNN, A. G.

AU - COIERA, Enrico

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Y1 - 2011/1/1

N2 - Objective: To examine the problem of studying interruption in healthcare. Methods: Review of the interruption literature from psychology, human-computer interaction; experimental studies of electronic prescribing and error behaviour; observational studies in emergency and intensive care. Results: Primary task and interruption variables which contribute to the outcomes of an interruption include the type of task (primary and interrupting task); point of interruption; duration of interruption; similarity of interruptive task to primary task; modality of interruption; environmental cues; and interruption handling strategy. Effects of interruption on task performance can be examined by measuring errors, the time on task, interruption lag and resumption lag. Conclusions: Interruptions are a complex phenomenon where multiple variables including the characteristics of primary tasks, the interruptions themselves, and the environment may influence patient safety and workflow outcomes. Observational studies present significant challenges for recording many of the process variables that influence the effects of interruptions. Controlled experiments provide an opportunity to examine the specific effects of variables on errors and efficiency. Computational models can be used to identify the situations in which interruptions to clinical tasks could be disruptive and to investigate the aggregate effects of interruptions.

AB - Objective: To examine the problem of studying interruption in healthcare. Methods: Review of the interruption literature from psychology, human-computer interaction; experimental studies of electronic prescribing and error behaviour; observational studies in emergency and intensive care. Results: Primary task and interruption variables which contribute to the outcomes of an interruption include the type of task (primary and interrupting task); point of interruption; duration of interruption; similarity of interruptive task to primary task; modality of interruption; environmental cues; and interruption handling strategy. Effects of interruption on task performance can be examined by measuring errors, the time on task, interruption lag and resumption lag. Conclusions: Interruptions are a complex phenomenon where multiple variables including the characteristics of primary tasks, the interruptions themselves, and the environment may influence patient safety and workflow outcomes. Observational studies present significant challenges for recording many of the process variables that influence the effects of interruptions. Controlled experiments provide an opportunity to examine the specific effects of variables on errors and efficiency. Computational models can be used to identify the situations in which interruptions to clinical tasks could be disruptive and to investigate the aggregate effects of interruptions.

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