Expert and competent non-expert visual cues during simulated diagnosis in intensive care

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The aim of this study was to examine the information acquisition strategies of expert and competent non-expert intensive care physicians during two simulated diagnostic scenarios involving respiratory distress in an infant. Specifically, the information acquisition performance of six experts and 12 competent non-experts was examined using an eye tracker during the initial 90 seconds of the assessment of the patient. The results indicated that, in comparison to competent non-experts, experts recorded longer mean fixations, irrespective of the scenario. When the dwell times were examined against specific areas of interest, the results revealed that competent non-experts recorded greater overall dwell times on the nurse, where experts recorded relatively greater dwell times on the head and face of the manikin. In the context of the scenarios, experts recorded differential dwell times, spending relatively more time on the head and face during the seizure scenario than during the coughing scenario. The differences evident between experts and competent non-experts were interpreted as evidence of the relative availability of task-specific cues or heuristics in memory that might direct the process of information acquisition amongst expert physicians. The implications are discussed for the training and assessment of diagnostic skills. © 2014 Mccormack, Wiggins, Loveday and Festa.




McCormack, C., Wiggins, M. W., Loveday, T., & Festa, M. (2014). Expert and competent non-expert visual cues during simulated diagnosis in intensive care. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(AUG).

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