Graduate students take a closer look at technology's impact
By Tamara Vineberg on October 1, 2019
Zehnder and Ghoman are using eye tracking glasses in separate research projects. This special technology is worn by clinicians to record eye movements during procedures or other activities.
Zehnder examines eye movement during neonatal resuscitations to learn more about a clinician’s decision-making processes. “I’m using the video that’s created from the eye tracking glasses as a tool to prompt questions during an interview with healthcare providers after the fact. I’m interested in what the prioritizations and predictions are and how those guide the decisions they have to make,” she says. “When a healthcare provider is asked to describe a procedure without the video, they oftentimes omit the majority of their decisions because they are so familiar with it.”
She adds clinicians also may not be thinking that they need to share this inner monologue with others. However, this information can be valuable to learners or to people who are developing other technologies for the delivery room.
Showing clinicians their eye movements has also brought new information forward. During her interviews, Zehnder asked healthcare providers to describe their thought process while watching the video and often the interviewees remarked that they didn’t realize they were spending so much time looking at a particular spot. “It has really helped them reflect on their thought process during either the resuscitation or intubations on the unit.”
Ghoman is using the eye tracking glasses to improve a simulation-based digital game called RETAIN (see previous story). RETAIN provides neonatal resuscitation training scenarios for its users. The glasses track how healthcare providers use the game. She will use the results from her study to inform the game developer if changes are needed to improve the presentation of RETAIN. “It’s interesting to see what people pay attention to visually while training. My next step will be to compare this data to the eye-tracking recordings from real resuscitations at the hospital. I want to compare where people look during a clinical resuscitation, to where people look while playing a simulated resuscitation. My aim is to see if people behave similarly in between both environments,” she says.
Technology is becoming more prevalent in research and neonatology. While initially developed for use in psychology, design, and marketing, Ghoman sees the possibility of how the eye tracking glasses could be used in different health applications. “It’s going to be exciting to see how this technology continues to be adapted in the future. We can always look at existing tools in new and creative ways to help solve important problems across disciplines,” she says.