A research study by Dr Agnes Koong, clinic director at Marine Parade Polyclinic, has found that disruptions can potentially cause stress in healthcare workers and increase the risk of medical errors.
She led seven other healthcare professionals in the one year study which began in September 2012, examining the impact of phone calls during consultations in polyclinics.
High volumes of patients and service providers at polyclinics mean that the interruptions mainly come from landline phones, with consultations interrupted at least once, explained SHP director of research Dr Tan Ngiap Chuan.
The study also found that patients were less aware of the risks, expecting healthcare workers not to answer personal calls. Patients were also found to exercise respect by putting their mobile phones to silent.
As a result of the study, Dr Koong and her team have put up posters reminding staff and patients to minimise interruptions.
The story was first published in TODAY.
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