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A computer-based task management system for junior medical officers during after-hours shifts

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To the Editor: After-hours communication of tasks between nursing staff and junior medical officers (JMOs) traditionally uses paper lists, whiteboards, face-to-face requests and frequent paging, regardless of task urgency.1,2 This fragments workflow, which increases cognitive demand and the risk of errors.35 Computer-based task allocation systems, still in their infancy, have not been objectively evaluated. The aim of our study was to determine whether using a computer-based task management system to list non-urgent after-hours tasks could improve professional communication and lead to more efficient task management at a busy tertiary hospital. The system’s main webpage on the hospital intranet includes a list of all pending tasks for the selected discipline, with demographics, task details, who requested the task and when, urgency, and time due. JMOs use checkboxes to claim and then complete tasks, which then move to a completed list. Nurses and doctors enter tasks via a simple form.

Nurses and JMOs completed questionnaires using Likert scales before the system was installed at the hospital and at 1 and 6 months…