Multitasking is very common in the medical community. It's also very problematic. It can lead directly to serious errors and medical malpractice. It puts patients at risk.
There are two different types of multitasking that must be considered. Both can be dangerous, but they occur differently. They are listed below, along with examples.
This is also referred to as dual-task performance, dual-tasking, or dual-task interference. Essentially, it means that the doctor has two different tasks to carry out and attempts to do them both simultaneously.
For example, the doctor could be writing an order for one patient when he or she gets a call about another patient. Without pausing in writing the order, the doctor could answer the phone. This could lead to issues if the doctor accidentally writes the wrong information on the order, switching up the two patients.
This is also called task-switching. Instead of trying to do both things at the exact same time, the doctor just jumps back and forth from one job to the other and back again.
For instance, the doctor could be talking to one patient and taking notes when another doctor comes into the room and asks a question about a different patient. The doctor stops talking to the patient who is standing there, answers the question, and then goes back to the notes.
In the fast-paced world of medicine and health care, it's almost impossible to eliminate multitasking. For that reason, it's very important for patients who are injured by negligent, distracted doctors to know exactly what rights they may have to financial compensation.
Source: Science Direct, "Improving our understanding of multi-tasking in healthcare: Drawing together the cognitive psychology and healthcare literature," Heather E. Douglas, accessed Sep. 15, 2017