ED Physician interruptions cause for patient safety concerns

Physician interruptions in the ED may cause physicians to reduce, delay or fail to complete clinical tasks. 

According to a study in Quality and Safety in Health Care, ED doctors were interrupted 6.6 times every hour. Eleven percent of all tasks were interrupted, and 3.3% of these tasks were interrupted more than once. Doctors multitasked for 12.8% of time. 

The study found that when interrupted, physicians reduce the time they spend on clinical tasks, and sometimes delay or fail to return to a portion of interrupted tasks.

(Sources: Quality and Safety in Health Care, http://qshc.bmj.com, May 12, 2010; Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, May 18, 2010)