Workload during a complex ICU monitoring task: the effect of level of patient ’ s sedation level and repetion of the task
Authors: Aslanidis Th, Chatzis A, Kontos A, Grosomanidis V, Karakoulas K, Chatzisotiriou A
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Patient care in Intensive Care Units is characterized by high demanding tasks, which leads in daily high workload. The aim of the study is to evaluate the effect of patient’s sedation level to workload for the certain task. It also examines whether workload lowers over time, as an effect of the experience gained by the repetition of the task. NASA- TLX tool was used as workload assessments method during a complex monitoring task in an adult Intensive Care Unit environment. The latter included monitoring and recording of skin conductance variability, noise level, hemodynamic and respiratory parameters were monitored during 4 hour routine in two groups of patients. The group was defined by the sedation level (Ramsay sedation score); otherwise no major differences were spotted in their characteristics. Both raw and weighted data of the NASA-TLX tool were included in the analysis, which was performed with MS Excel 2007 (Microsoft Co, USA) and Rstudio® IDE v.0.99.903 (Rstudio Inc, Boston, MA, USA). Patients’ sedation level did not affect NASA-TLX measured workload. The former was valid both for raw values and weighted data of the subscales of the NASA-TLX tool. In the second part of the analysis where the raw values were treated as time series data, it was shown that some subscales (Ment, Phys) had a tendency towards lower values, others (e.g. Temp, Ef) had a relative stability and others (Per) increased over time. The total workload (OW) did not seem to lower over time. While the patient’s sedation level does not affect workload of the specific task, several subscales of the NASA-TLX index do reveal a tendency over time; a fact that may be used as learning curve/ experience assessment for a given task. However, further studies are needed in order to define its future utility.