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

Abstract 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.
Advances in Simulation. 2017 Feb 14;2(1):5