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Letter to the Editor

Out of Sight, Out of ED Staff's Minds

doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000554859.71776.60
Letter to the Editor
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Letters to the Editor

Emergency Medicine News welcomes letters to the editor about any subject related to emergency medicine. Please limit your letter to 250 words, and include your full name, credentials, and city and state of residence or practice.

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I share Dr. Robert Baron's frustration with frequent interruptions and distractions; they are a significant (if unmeasurable) contributor to medical error in the ED. (“Give EPs Back Their Quiet Space to Think,” [letter] EMN 2019;41[1]:25; Communication is important, but more isn't necessarily better. Private physician dictation rooms are a luxury we're no longer provided. My personal solution is a computer on wheels.

When our group transitioned to pods, I soon realized that constantly being in the staff's line of sight drastically increased my interruptions. I started pushing a computer into the room with me. When staff had to start leaving their chairs to track me down, it cut those interruptions dramatically without sacrificing safety. If it's really important, they come find me!

It's more efficient when I enter my orders at the bedside because I don't have to run back when I forgot to ask about allergies. I can review the old chart, which leads to crucially pertinent questions, and enter the HPI in real time. I sit while doing it, so I end up spending a lot more time with patients and family. They love it, and I can be productive if they start to ramble. This has truly been a game-changer in efficiency and patient satisfaction. When I need quiet time to think, I park in the hallway away from the hubbub of the nurse's station.

Michael Mouw, MD

Austin, TX

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