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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Differentiating between detrimental and beneficial interruptions: a mixed-methods study.

Myers RA, McCarthy MC, Whitlatch A, et al. BMJ quality & safety. 2016;25:881-888.

Interruptions can lead to errors in care, but they may be necessary to address urgent situations. This direct observation and device audit study classified nursing interruptions as either detrimental or necessary. Investigators determined that interrupting a nurse in the patient room was most likely to be a safety hazard, whereas alerts to nurses outside of patient rooms were more likely to be beneficial. This work underscores the challenge of optimizing interruptions to maintain patient safety.