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Research Letter |

Do Physicians Spend Less Time With Patients in Contact Isolation?  A Time-Motion Study of Internal Medicine Interns

Cody N. Dashiell-Earp, MD, MBA1; Douglas S. Bell, MD, PhD1,2; Alexis O. Ang, MD, MPH1; Daniel Z. Uslan, MD, MS1,3
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Internal Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles
2Biomedical Informatics Program at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of California, Los Angeles
3Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California, Los Angeles
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(5):814-815. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.537.
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The use of contact isolation precautions for patients colonized or infected with drug-resistant or easily transmissible organisms is a widely accepted strategy for reducing transmission of hospital-associated infections. Although hospitals throughout the country have implemented these practices at great logistical and financial expense, there are few high-quality data to support their use.

Isolation precautions have unintended consequences, including a reduction in time spent with health care providers, lower patient satisfaction, and more preventable adverse events.13 Only a few small studies have measured the impact of contact isolation on time spent by health care providers with patients. Given recent advances in spatial tracking technology, we set out to measure differences in time spent by internal medicine interns with patients in contact isolation rooms compared with those in nonisolation rooms.

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Figure.
Average Time per Visit Spent by Interns to Isolation vs Nonisolation Rooms

Each data point represents 1 intern. Dashed line shows where values would be if time in isolation and nonisolation rooms were equal. Solid line shows the least-squares regression for the relationship between isolation room and nonisolation room time among interns (Pearson r = 0.65). There were 15 total observations.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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