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Delays and Interruptions in the Acute Medical Unit clerking process – an observational study

Basey, AJ and Kennedy, TD and Mackridge, AJ and Krska, J (2016) Delays and Interruptions in the Acute Medical Unit clerking process – an observational study. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open, 7 (2). pp. 1-7. ISSN 1758-1095

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Abstract

Objectives: It is recommended that patients are seen within 4 h of arrival in Acute Medical Units in English hospitals. This study explored the frequency and nature of interruptions and delays potentially affecting the duration of the Acute Medical Unit admission process and the quality of care provided.
Design: The admission process was directly observed for patients admitted to the Acute Medical Unit over four one week periods, November 2009 to April 2011.
Setting: UK teaching hospital Acute Medical Unit.
Participants: Hospital staff n¼36.
Main outcome measures: Patient waiting times, duration of clerking, number of interruptions and/or delays.
Results: Thirty-five doctors and one nurse practitioner were observed admitting 71 medical patients, 48/71 (68%) patients were clerked within 4 h of arrival. A delay and/or interruption affected 49/71 (69%) patients. Sixty-six interruptions were observed in 36/71 (51%) of admissions, of these 19/36 (53%) were interrupted more than once. The grade of doctor had no bearing on the frequency of interruption; however, clerking took significantly longer when interrupted; overall doctors grade ST1 and above were quicker at clerking than foundation doctors. Delays affected 31/71 (44%) of admissions, 14/31 (45%) involved X-rays or ECGs; other causes of delays included problems with equipment and computers.
Conclusion: Interruptions and delays regularly occurred during the admission process in the study hospital which impacts adversely on patient experience and compliance with the recommended 4-h timeframe, further work is required to assess the impact on patient safety. Data obtained from this observational study were used to guide operational changes to improve the process.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
Divisions: Pharmacy & Biomolecular Sciences
Publisher: Sage Publications
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2016 10:08
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2016 10:08
DOI or Identification number: 10.1177/2054270415619323
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2850

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