Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Effects of multitasking on doctors' ability to diagnose

Date:
September 10, 2013
Source:
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Summary:
Physicians may be able to complete simple tasks concurrently while diagnosing a patient without affecting the accuracy or speed of diagnoses, human factors researchers have suggested. Complex tasks, however, that require tapping into memory appear to slow the decision-making process, resulting in measurable delays in completing the diagnoses.

Physicians may be able to complete simple tasks concurrently while diagnosing a patient without affecting the accuracy or speed of diagnoses, human factors researchers have suggested, based on the findings of a recent laboratory experiment. Complex tasks, however, that require tapping into memory appear to slow the decision-making process, resulting in measurable delays in completing the diagnoses. Accuracy of the diagnoses did not differ significantly between the simple and complex multitasking conditions.

The authors of this research, Shi Cao and Yili Liu (Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor) will present their results at the upcoming HFES 2013 Annual Meeting in San Diego.

To help fill the gap in research that examines the effect of concurrent tasks on decision making, particularly in the health care arena, the researchers asked 30 participants to diagnose a medical condition in a simulated diagnostic decision-making experiment under three concurrent task conditions -- simple, complex, or no concurrent task. The simple task was to acknowledge when an audio warning sounded from a vital signs monitor. The complex task required remembering changing emergency levels (low, medium, high) of three other patients.

Although the accuracy of participants' diagnoses did not differ significantly, it took the participants significantly more time to arrive at their decisions when they were required to complete a complex concurrent task compared with a simple task or no concurrent task. This finding may provide some guidance for the design of multitasking and interruption policies in the medical care work environment.

"When a physician is actively focusing on a time-critical diagnostic decision, other necessary information -- such as warnings, reminders, or situation updates -- should be delivered through simple or intuitive channels as much as possible to minimize potential interference," says Cao.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. "Effects of multitasking on doctors' ability to diagnose." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910093412.htm>.
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. (2013, September 10). Effects of multitasking on doctors' ability to diagnose. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910093412.htm
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. "Effects of multitasking on doctors' ability to diagnose." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910093412.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins