Visualization of Data Regarding Infections Using Eye Tracking Techniques

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To evaluate ease of use and usefulness for nurses of visualizations of infectious disease transmission in a hospital.


An observational study was used to evaluate perceptions of several visualizations of data extracted from electronic health records designed using a participatory approach. Twelve nurses in the master's program in an urban research-intensive nursing school participated in May 2015.


A convergent parallel mixed method was used to evaluate nurses' perceptions on ease of use and usefulness of five visualization conveying trends in hospital infection transmission applying think-aloud, interview, and eye-tracking techniques.


Subjective data from the interview and think-aloud techniques indicated that participants preferred the traditional line graphs in simple data representation due to their familiarity, clarity, and easiness to read. An objective quantitative measure of eye movement analysis (444,421 gaze events) identified a high degree of participants' attention span in infographics in all three scenarios. All participants responded with the correct answer within 1 min in comprehensive tests.


A user-centric approach was effective in developing and evaluating visualizations for hospital infection transmission. For the visualizations designed by the users, the participants were easily able to comprehend the infection visualizations on both line graphs and infographics for simple visualization. The findings from the objective comprehension test and eye movement and subjective attitudes support the feasibility of integrating user-centric visualization designs into electronic health records, which may inspire clinicians to be mindful of hospital infection transmission. Future studies are needed to investigate visualizations and motivation, and the effectiveness of visualization on infection rate.

Clinical Relevance:

This study designed visualization images using clinical data from electronic health records applying a user-centric approach. The design insights can be applied for visualizing patient data in electronic health records.

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