Assessing electronic interruptions experienced by an anesthesiology clinical director

Thomas E. Schulte, Ellen K. Roberts, Kristina Birch, Steven J. Lisco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Study Objective The purpose of this study was to assess the workflow interruptions on an anesthesiology clinical director (CD). By assessing the interruptions on the CD, we hypothesize that these frequent interruptions would prohibit the CD from medical direction of residents or certified nurse anesthetists in operating rooms. Design Cellular phone data were obtained from Verizon Wireless statements over 10 months, August 2012 through May 2013. These data were from a single cellular phone carried by the anesthesia CD and subsequent overnight anesthesiologist 24 hours a day. The data obtained from the billing records included number of calls, date and time call occurred, number of minutes per call, and number of texts received. Setting These calls occurred in the operating room. Patients Not applicable. Intervention Not applicable. Measurements Phone calls, texts, and pager interruptions. Main Results A total of 19,924 calls and 19,803 texts were received by the CD. The phone calls minutes for this period were 31,236 minutes. A total of 15,831 (80%) of the calls occurred during this period (0600-1800). A total of 24 489 minutes (78%) of the total minutes occurred during this time. Conclusion This study revealed that distracting events are frequent for an anesthesiology CD. The quantity of cellular phone interruptions, both calls and texts, by the anesthesiology CD was considered high. These calls occurred mainly during prime operating room time and utilization. As the CD is an integral part of the perioperative management team, they are expected to answer and return calls and texts promptly. Operating room efficiency and staff satisfaction decline if responses to these calls and texts are delayed. Although the nature of these distractions and interruptions can be viewed as having a positive or negative effect, many of these events are necessary to efficiently run the operating rooms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-660
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Clinical director
  • Operating room management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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