Thursday, January 11, 2018

ACEP Studies ER Physician Interruptions

For nearly five years, Dr. Kenneth (Ken) Mwatha has served as an attending physician at the Department of Emergency Medicine at Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Alongside his work, Dr. Ken Mwatha maintains membership in the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

A recent study appearing in the Annals of Emergency Medicine - a journal of the ACEP - looks at the interruptions that emergency room physicians face daily and how to effectively deal with them. According to the research, ER doctors are interrupted an average of 12.5 times each our, with nearly half of the interruptions coming while they are doing computer work. More than 87 percent of all interruptions come from other staff members. 

Researchers suggest several strategies for managing these interruptions, including the creation of environmental cues, such as strategic placement of a mouse cursor, to refresh the mind on the task at hand. Researchers also suggest there may be times when it is appropriate to reject the interruption altogether until the task at hand is completed.