Human Performance Engineering: Decision Making in Virtual Reality

Every year, more than 200 million surgeries are performed in hospitals and surgical facilities all around the world. In surgeries, the goal is precise medical outcomes, while maintaining patient safety and efficiency. The design of the operating suite is paramount in ensuring logical decision making, and therefore efficiently run operations for all medical personnel involved. This study is a pilot study with aims to show how the layout and other environmental cues of the operating room affect decision making and logic using virtual reality. Our team is currently developing analysis framework which includes data from a virtual reality environment, wireless EEG, and physiological measurements. This project is currently in the Data Collection Phase. Once complete, the results will contribute to the designing of the operating room of the future.

Experiment Goals

  • Determine the effect of the Operating Room design, as well as environmental stimuli, on decision making and priority
  • Determine the effect of virtual reality on cognitive load and decision making

Experimental Procedure

  • 3 Different Environments – Virtual Reality Only, No Virtual Reality (Cardboard mock-up only), Mixed VR and Cardboard
  • 3 Different Designs and Scenarios – Preparation, Emergency, Clean-Up
  • Each participant interacts with a different combination of environment and design/scenario while performing various assigned tasks in the OR
  • Record cognitive load, localized brain wave activity, heart rate, body temperature, stress level, and completion time for each trial
  • Analyze data to determine correlation between stress and cognitive load while making decisions