Emergency Department Workers Spend Too Much Time on Facebook

University of Florida researchers analyzed anonymous network utilization records for workstations in the emergency department (ED) at one academic medical center for 15 days, and after comparing the data to ED work index data from hospital information systems, they found that health care workers spent a substantial amount of staff time on Facebook.

University of Florida researchers analyzed anonymous network utilization records for workstations in the emergency department (ED) at one academic medical center for 15 days, and after comparing the data to ED work index data from hospital information systems, they found that health care workers spent a substantial amount of staff time on Facebook.

Over the 15-day period, health care workers spent 72.5 hours browsing Facebook, visiting the site 9,369 times, and spending 12 minutes per hour on Facebook. The research showed a positive correlation between ED work index data scores and time spent on the site. In somewhat of a surprise, hospital workers spent more time on Facebook when the patient volume in the ED increased.

The findings were published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research on May 17, 2013. The researchers concluded that while online social networking is an important and worthwhile activity to engage with friends, family, and acquaintances, the level of Facebook use they found was unacceptably high in clinical spaces, and they recommend that computer workstations in patient-care space should limit access to online social networking and other forms of entertainment.

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