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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 1 (2010), Issue 1, Pages 83-100
Research Article

The Use of Observation and Interview Methods for Assessing Issues in Patient Care in the Resuscitation Unit of a Level-1 Trauma Center

Joseph Sharit,1 Lorgia McCane,2 Carl I. Schulman,3 Jill M. Graygo,2 and Jeffrey S. Augenstein3

1Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Miami, P.O. Box 248294, Coral Gables, FL 33124-0623, 305-284-6472, USA
2Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, USA
3Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, University of Miami, USA

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although traumatic injury is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people between the ages of one and 44, we lack important knowledge about how the various activities and processes within the resuscitation units of trauma care systems can impact the management of patient care. This article reports on a research study that involved the complementation of observation and interview methods for identifying and assessing a broad array of issues and concerns within this highly complex critical care setting in a large level-1 trauma center. Data from observations were collected on 27 days, and subsequently used to guide semi-structured interviews with 22 health care workers representing different specialties responsible for patient care within the resuscitation unit. The complementation of observation and interview data afforded the opportunity to validate issues that were observed while providing a richer understanding of these issues as a basis for formulating intervention strategies.