Eye Tracking: A Novel Approach for Evaluating and Improving the Safety of Healthcare Processes in the Simulated Setting

Elizabeth A. Henneman, Jenna L. Marquard, Donald L. Fisher, Anna Gawlinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Introduction Eye tracking, used to evaluate a clinician's eye movements, is an example of an existing technology being used in novel ways by patient safety researchers in the simulated setting. The use of eye-tracking technology has the potential to augment current teaching, evaluation, and research methods in simulated settings by using this quantitative, objective data to better understand why an individual performed as he or she did on a simulated or naturalistic task. Methods Selected literature was reviewed with the purpose of explicating how eye tracking can be used by researchers and educators to evaluate error-prone processes. The literature reviewed was obtained by querying the databases PubMed, CINHAL, and Google Scholar using the key words eye tracking, patient safety, and medical errors from 2005 through 2015. An introduction to the use of eye tracking, including both theoretical underpinnings and technological considerations, is presented. In addition, examples of how eye tracking has been used in research studies conducted in both simulated and naturalistic settings are provided. Conclusions The use of eye-tracking technology to capture the eye movements of novice and expert clinicians has provided new insight into behaviors associated with the identification of medical errors. The study of novices' and experts' eye movements provides data about clinician performance not possible with existing evaluation methods such as direct observation, verbal reports, and thinking out loud. The use of eye tracking to capture the behaviors of experts can lead to the development of training protocols to guide the education of students and novice practitioners. Eye-tracking technology clearly has the potential to transform the way clinical simulation is used to improve patient safety practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-56
Number of pages6
JournalSimulation in Healthcare
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


  • clinical simulation
  • eye tracking
  • healthcare processes
  • medical error
  • patient safety


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