Study - Clinicians Burnout Caused by Frequent Technology Interruptions

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The American Medical Association recently published a study 1 reporting that physicians spend roughly two hours on EHR and desk work for every hour physicians spend with patients.

In this study, Vocera Communications, in partnership with HIMSS Analytics, sought to understand how clinical and IT leaders understand and manage the rising challenge of interruptions from technology system sources such as phone calls, pages, texts, notifications, alerts, and alarms.

We surveyed 150 clinical and IT leaders via HIMSS Analytics Logic online and onsite at the HIMSS 2018 annual conference.


When looking at how technology affects patient care, EHRs get a lot of attention. But EHRs aren’t the only technology revolution frontline clinicians must grapple with. Doctors and nurses receive texts, pages, alerts, alarms, and interruptive phone calls on an array of mobile technology devices.

While new technologies have the potential to bring critical patient information to the right clinician at the right time, they also have the potential, if unmanaged, to create a cacophony of interruptions and data overload. This overload leaves physicians, nurses, and other care team members distracted, interrupted, and burned out.


  1. Introduction
  2. Technology-Related Interruptions Make Patient Care More Difficult
  3. Interruptions Occur Multiple Times Each Hour
  4. Measurement of Technology-Related Interruptions is Rare and Reactive
  5. IT Leaders View Vendor Usage Reports in Isolation – If at All
  6. Leaders Are Dissatisfied with Responsiveness in Identifying Interruption
  7. Frequency and Adjusting Workflow Design
  8. Leaders Want Measurement at Least Quarterly
  9. Interruptions Contribute to Burnout
  10. Discussion: What Clinical and IT Leaders Can Do
  11. Survey Demographics Data

Disparate communication systems using non-integrated devices can profoundly affect the clinician’s ability to get the right information at the right time to care for patients.

- Rhonda Collins, DNP, RN, FAAN Chief Nursing Officer at Vocera

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First Time Responders
  • 1 Sinsky, C., Colligan, L., Li, L., Prgomet, M., Reynolds, S., Goeders, L., ... & Blike, G. (2016). Allocation of physician time in ambulatory practice: a time and motion study in 4 specialties. Annals of Internal Medicine, 165(11), 753-760.
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