Synchronized time-motion study in the emergency department using a handheld computer application

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Emergency departments present a challenging environment for workflow evaluation and measurement of the effect of information system interventions. This paper describes a time-motion data collection tool built as a handheld computer application. The tool allows mobility of the observer and the intuitive interface supports rapid selection of tasks and frequent changes in tasks. It also allows documentation of overlapping tasks, a common occurrence in the emergency department. Synchronized data collection across the different providers of care in the emergency department is demonstrated, resulting in a data set from which task/event sequences can be built, documenting the ED care of individual patients. This technique should provide a very useful tool in measuring the effect of process changes in this difficult-to-assess environment, particularly changes in the information system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-705
Number of pages5
JournalStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
StatePublished - 2004


  • Emergency Medicine
  • Handheld Computers
  • Process Measures
  • Time and Motion Studies


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