Study objective The purpose of this feasibility study is to develop and validate a new assessment tool and scoring system for multitasking competency for physicians in-training in a timed simulated setting. The multitasking competency includes ability to appropriately prioritize and implement tasks for different patients who present simultaneously. Methods We designed three single task stations with different levels of difficulty and priority. These skill stations were then combined to create a multitasking simulation scenario. Skill checklists and the global rating scale were utilized to assess the participants’ performance. A multitasking score, multitasking index, and priority score were developed to measure the multitasking ability of participants. Results Thirty-three first-year postgraduate physicians were recruited for this prospective study. The total performance scores were significantly higher for the single-tasking stations than for the multitasking scenario. In terms of the time needed to complete the tasks, the participants spent more time on the multitasking scenario than on the single-tasking scenario. There were significant correlations between the global rating scale and the multitasking score (rho = 0.693, p < 0.001) and between the global rating scale and the multitasking index (rho = 0.515, p < 0.001). The multitasking score, multitasking index, and priority score did not have any significant correlations with the total single-tasking score. Conclusion We demonstrated that the use of a simulated multitasking scenario could be an effective method of assessing multitasking ability and allow assessors to offer better quality feedback.
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