Why is it so difficult to measure the effects of interruptions in healthcare?

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

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsConference paper (refereed)Researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


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
Title of host publicationMEDINFO 2010: Proceedings of the 13th World Congress on Medical Informatics
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9781607505877
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010


  • Computer simulation
  • Efficiency
  • Evaluation studies
  • Interruption
  • Medical error
  • Observation
  • Safety


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