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Appl Ergon. 2006 Jul;37(4):501-12. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

The multimodal world of medical monitoring displays.

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ARC Key Centre for Human Factors, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia.


A vision of the future of intraoperative monitoring for anesthesia is presented-a multimodal world based on advanced sensing capabilities. I explore progress towards this vision, outlining the general nature of the anesthetist's monitoring task and the dangers of attentional capture. Research in attention indicates different kinds of attentional control, such as endogenous and exogenous orienting, which are critical to how awareness of patient state is maintained, but which may work differently across different modalities. Four kinds of medical monitoring displays are surveyed: (1) integrated visual displays, (2) head-mounted displays, (3) advanced auditory displays and (4) auditory alarms. Achievements and challenges in each area are outlined. In future research, we should focus more clearly on identifying anesthetists' information needs and we should develop models of attention in different modalities and across different modalities that are more capable of guiding design.

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