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Keeping an eye on provider interactions

February 17, 2015
by Richard R. Rogoski
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Do healthcare providers sometimes appear too distracted during face-to-face encounters? If so, a new monitoring system can pinpoint exactly where they're focusing their attention.

Called the "Lab-in-a-Box," the collection of sensors and software solutions was developed by scientists in the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department at the University of California, San Diego to monitor a provider's behavior during face-to-face encounters when also accessing information from an electronic health record.

Inside a compact suitcase is a depth camera to record a provider's body and head movements as well an eye tracker that shows exactly where the provider is looking. There also is a direct link to the provider's computer which keeps track of keyboard strokes and pop-up menus.

"With the heavy demand that current medical records put on the physician, doctors look at the screen instead of looking at their patients," said Nadir Weibel, a CSE research scientist in a press release. "Important clues such as facial expression, and direct eye-contact between patient and physician are therefore lost."