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Effects of Interruptions on Triage Process in Emergency Department

A Prospective, Observational Study

Johnson, Kimberly D., PhD, RN, CEN; Gillespie, Gordon L., PhD, DNP, RN, CEN, CNE, CPEN; Vance, Kimberly, MSN, RN, NE-BC

doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000314

For 130 million people seeking emergency treatment in the United States, incomplete or inaccurate triage examination can result in delays, which could compromise patient outcomes. The purpose of this study was to identify triage interruptions and determine how interruptions affect the triage process. A significant difference was seen in triage duration between interrupted and uninterrupted interviews. Understanding the impact of interruptions on patient outcomes will allow nurses and other health care providers to develop interventions to mitigate the impact.

College of Nursing, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (Drs Johnson and Gillespie); and Emergency Department, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (Ms Vance).

Correspondence: Kimberly D. Johnson, PhD, RN, CEN, College of Nursing, University of Cincinnati, 3110 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH (

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health KL2 Mentored Career Development Award (5KL2TR001426, 2016) and the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing's Dean Research Award.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Accepted for publication: November 6, 2017

Published ahead of print: January 9, 2018

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