An experimental study on the impact of clinical interruptions on simulated trainee performances of central venous catheterization

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BioMed Central
Background: Interruptions are common in the healthcare setting. This experimental study compares the effects of interruptions on simulated performances of central venous catheterization during a highly versus minimally complex portion of the task. Methods: Twenty-six residents were assigned to interruptions during tasks that are (1) highly complex: establishing ultrasound-guided venous access (experimental group, n = 15) or (2) minimally complex: skin cleansing (control group, n = 11). Primary outcomes were (a) performance scores at three time points measured with a validated checklist, (b) time spent on the respective tasks, and (c) number of attempts to establish venous access. Results: Repeated measure analyses of variances of performance scores over time indicated no main effect of time or group. The interaction between time and group was significant: F (2, 44) = 4.28, p = 0.02, and partial eta2 = 0.16, indicating a large effect size. The experimental group scores decreased steadily over time, while the control group scores increased with time. The experimental group required longer to access the vein (148 s; interquartile range (IQR) 60 to 361 vs. 44 s; IQR 27 to 133 s; p = 0.034). Median number of attempts to establish venous access was higher in the experimental group (2, IQR 1–7 vs. 1, IQR 1–2; p = 0.03). Conclusions: Interruptions during a highly complex task resulted in a consistent decrement in performance scores, longer time required to perform the task, and a higher number of venous access attempts than interruptions during a minimally complex tasks. We recommend avoiding interrupting trainees performing bedside procedures.
central venous catheterization, attention, Interruption, Task performance and analysis, Medical errors
Advances in Simulation 2017:2:5