Interrupted care. The effects of paging on pediatric resident activities

Am J Dis Child. 1992 Jul;146(7):806-8. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160190038016.


Objective: To determine the content and urgency of pages and their effect on the activities of pediatric residents.

Design: Prospective survey.

Setting: University-affiliated teaching hospital.

Participants: Seventeen pediatric residents on regular pediatric services.

Interventions: None.

Measurements/main results: On daily logs, interns recorded the activity interrupted by a page and rated the urgency and importance of the page. Almost half of all pages interrupted patient care activities, and 24% interrupted scheduled work rounds or teaching conferences. Interns reported that 34% of pages resulted in a change in patient treatment, but they rated 25% of all pages as unimportant.

Conclusions: "Beepers" frequently interrupt pediatric residents involved in patient care activities and scheduled educational conferences. Studies of interventions aimed at decreasing unnecessary interruptions by pages are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional / etiology
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Hospital Communication Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Pediatrics / standards*
  • Philadelphia / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Risk Factors