Feasibility of eye-tracking technology to quantify expertise in ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia
Ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia (UGRA) requires an advanced procedural skill set that incorporates both sonographic knowledge of relevant anatomy as well as technical proficiency in needle manipulation in order to achieve a successful outcome. Understanding how to differentiate a novice from an expert in UGRA using a quantifiable tool may be useful for comparing educational interventions that could improve the rate at which one develops expertise. Exploring the gaze pattern of individuals performing a task has been used to evaluate expertise in many different disciplines, including medicine. However, the use of eye-tracking technology has not been previously applied to UGRA. The purpose of this preliminary study is to establish the feasibility of applying such technology as a measurement tool for comparing procedural expertise in UGRA. eye-tracking data were collected from one expert and one novice utilizing Tobii Glasses 2 while performing a simulated ultrasound-guided thoracic paravertebral block in a gel phantom model. Area of interest fixations were recorded and heat maps of gaze fixations were created. Results suggest a potential application of eye-tracking technology in the assessment of UGRA learning and performance.