A Time-Motion Study of Registered Nurses’ Workflow in Intensive Care Unit Remote Monitoring

Publication Date



AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2006; 2006: 759–763.


Utilizing advanced information technology, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) remote monitoring allows highly trained specialists to oversee a large number of patients at multiple sites on a continuous basis. In the current research, we conducted a time-motion study of registered nurses’ work in an ICU remote monitoring facility. Data were collected on seven nurses through 40 hours of observation. The results showed that nurses’ essential tasks were centered on three themes: monitoring patients, maintaining patients’ health records, and managing technology use. In monitoring patients, nurses spent 52% of the time assimilating information embedded in a clinical information system and 15% on monitoring live vitals. System-generated alerts frequently interrupted nurses in their task performance and redirected them to manage suddenly appearing events. These findings provide insight into nurses’ workflow in a new, technology-driven critical care setting and have important implications for system design, work engineering, and personnel selection and training.


Intensive Care Units/organization and administration, Time and Motion Studies


PMCID: PMC1839383