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Improving our understanding of multi-tasking in healthcare: Drawing together the cognitive psychology and healthcare literature

Douglas, H.E., Raban, M.Z., Walter, S.R. and Westbrook, J.I. (2017) Improving our understanding of multi-tasking in healthcare: Drawing together the cognitive psychology and healthcare literature. Applied Ergonomics, 59 (A). pp. 45-55.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2016.08.021
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Abstract

Multi-tasking is an important skill for clinical work which has received limited research attention. Its impacts on clinical work are poorly understood. In contrast, there is substantial multi-tasking research in cognitive psychology, driver distraction, and human-computer interaction. This review synthesises evidence of the extent and impacts of multi-tasking on efficiency and task performance from health and non-healthcare literature, to compare and contrast approaches, identify implications for clinical work, and to develop an evidence-informed framework for guiding the measurement of multi-tasking in future healthcare studies. The results showed healthcare studies using direct observation have focused on descriptive studies to quantify concurrent multi-tasking and its frequency in different contexts, with limited study of impact. In comparison, non-healthcare studies have applied predominantly experimental and simulation designs, focusing on interleaved and concurrent multi-tasking, and testing theories of the mechanisms by which multi-tasking impacts task efficiency and performance. We propose a framework to guide the measurement of multi-tasking in clinical settings that draws together lessons from these siloed research efforts.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2016 The Authors
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/34237
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