Multitasking by clinicians in the context of CPOE and CIS use

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2007;129(Pt 2):958-62.


Interest in studying distractions and interruptions in the context of clinician workflow has increased in light of evidence that these events may negatively impact patient safety. Additionally, many recent informatics-based studies analyze computer provider order entry (CPOE) and clinical information system (CIS) implementation and its effects on clinician workflow. This study expands the development and use of a taxonomy to characterize distractions to clinicians and their subsequent actions in the context of CPOE/CIS use. We found a total of 75 distracting events in 406 minutes of observational data of which 32 led to interruptions and 30 led to continued multitasking. The above primary actions led to 5 tasks not completed and 4 episodes of clinician's lack of recall. Differences in the distribution of the source of distractions and primary action of the distracted clinicians may be a function of clinical setting and clinician type using the CPOE/CIS. Nine secondary actions, potentially resulting in a slip or a mistake, suggest that CPOE may necessitate different forms of safety nets than traditional clinician communication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Hospital Information Systems*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units* / organization & administration
  • Medical Order Entry Systems*
  • Personnel, Hospital / psychology
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workforce