Eye tracking as a debriefing mechanism in the simulated setting improves patient safety practices

Elizabeth A. Henneman, Helene Cunningham, Donald L. Fisher, Karen Plotkin, Brian H. Nathanson, Joan P. Roche, Jenna L. Marquard, Cheryl A. Reilly, Philip L. Henneman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION:: Human patient simulation has been widely adopted in healthcare education despite little research supporting its efficacy. The debriefing process is central to simulation education, yet alternative evaluation methods to support providing optimal feedback to students have not been well explored. Eye tracking technology is an innovative method for providing objective evaluative feedback to students after a simulation experience. The purpose of this study was to compare 3 forms of simulation-based student feedback (verbal debrief only, eye tracking only, and combined verbal debrief and eye tracking) to determine the most effective method for improving student knowledge and performance. METHODS:: An experimental study using a pretest-posttest design was used to compare the effectiveness of 3 types of feedback. The subjects were senior baccalaureate nursing students in their final semester enrolled at a large university in the northeast United States. Students were randomly assigned to 1 of the 3 intervention groups. RESULTS:: All groups performed better in the posttest evaluation than in the pretest. Certain safety practices improved significantly in the eye tracking-only group. These criteria were those that required an auditory and visual comparison of 2 artifacts such as "Compares patient stated name with name on ID band." CONCLUSIONS:: Eye tracking offers a unique opportunity to provide students with objective data about their behaviors during simulation experiences, particularly related to safety practices that involve the comparison of patient stated data to an artifact such as an ID band. Despite the limitations of current eye tracking technology, there is significant potential for the use of this technology as a method for the study and evaluation of patient safety practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-135
Number of pages7
JournalDimensions of Critical Care Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Debriefing
  • Eye tracking
  • Healthcare education
  • Nursing education
  • Patient safety
  • Simulation


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