Background: Emergency medical care often requires intense and time dependent clinical decision making that require high levels of attention and focus. Distractions during clinical decision making have been shown to contribute to medical errors, clinician burnout and process delays. The current studies on physician distractions in the clinical environment have been limited to observational and case reports.
Purpose/Objective: Our research approach establishes a new frontier as we implement technological innovation to reliably and accurately identify, quantitate and define how distractions affect the clinician in real time. The potential to minimize physician distractions in the clinical environment may reduce medical decision making errors, improve patient safety, reduce clinician burnout and improve emergency department operational efficiency.
Methods: Portable and minimally intrusive instrumentation that includes eye tracking, facial recognition, electrodermal activity (EDA), blood volume pulse (BVP), skin temperature, movement accelerometer, and electroencephalogram (EEG) is being deployed on our Emergency Medicine (EM) physicians while on duty to establish physiological markers for distraction identification and classification. Our conceptual work includes direct researcher observations of the EM physician with time synchronization of the physiologic monitors to codify a distraction.
Outcomes: Our preliminary findings identify behavioral tendencies of the physicians and illustrate a foundation by which autonomous distraction identification, monitoring and corrective feedback could be established.