The Applied Ergonomics journal awarded its 2015 Best Paper prize to IU School of Informatics and Computing Professor Richard Holden for “Interruptions in the wild: Development of a sociotechnical systems model of interruptions in the emergency department through a systematic review,” which provides the most comprehensive model of interruptions in ER settings.
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Co-authored by Holden’s former student Nicole E. Werner, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, the paper reviews and synthesizes 15 international studies that assess ER interruptions, responding to gaps in the previous literature that had looked at only the number and frequency of interruptions in an environment that is notoriously fast-paced, complex, and chaotic—where doctors and nurses face a spectrum of interruptions that can put patients’ safety at risk.
“There were too many reductionist views of interruptions that didn’t match what happens in ER settings, such as in trauma resuscitation,” Holden says. “No one had put these pieces together.”
Taking into account a wider range of factors—the cause of interruptions and how they unfold, the influence of team dynamics, types of tasks, technology, settings, “stacked” or multiple interruptions, and organizational systems—the model will serve as a gold standard in health informatics systems reviews and in further explorations of how the multilayered nature of ER interruptions may contribute to doctors’ and nurses’ loss of situation awareness, decreased critical thinking, stress, and error rates.
The award will be presented at the CIEHF Awards Ceremony at the Ergonomics and Human Factors Conference to be held in Daventry, UK, on April 20.