Over the 15-day period, ED staff spent 4349 minutes (or 72.3 hours) on Facebook at the 68 terminals, visiting the Facebook website 9369 times. On average, ED staffers spent 12 minutes per hour.
The researchers expected to find significant social media use among ED staffers. However, they did not except to find that such use increased when the ED became busier.
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Workers spent 19.8 minutes per hour on Facebook when on the night shift, but limited their use to 4.3 minutes per hour when on the day shift, when the ED was less busy.
The researchers note that cognitive breaks can help workers handle increased patient volumes and acuity. "It is possible that [Facebook] time-outs lead to improved worker functioning, but of more concern is that it may also represent a compromise of patient care." They recommend more research into the trend.
Of note: The study did not include time spent on Facebook using mobile devices.