Novel pulse oximetry sonifications for neonatal oxygen saturation monitoring: a laboratory study

Hinckfuss, Kelly, Sanderson, Penelope, Loeb, Robert G., Liley, Helen G. and Liu, David (2016) Novel pulse oximetry sonifications for neonatal oxygen saturation monitoring: a laboratory study. Human Factors, 58 2: 344-359. doi:10.1177/0018720815617406

Author Hinckfuss, Kelly
Sanderson, Penelope
Loeb, Robert G.
Liley, Helen G.
Liu, David
Title Novel pulse oximetry sonifications for neonatal oxygen saturation monitoring: a laboratory study
Journal name Human Factors   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1547-8181
Publication date 2016-03
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0018720815617406
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 58
Issue 2
Start page 344
End page 359
Total pages 16
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
Publisher Sage Publications
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: We aimed to test whether the use of novel pulse oximetry sounds (sonifications) better informs listeners when a neonate’s oxygen saturation (SpO2) deviates from the recommended range.
Background: Variable-pitch pulse oximeters do not accurately inform clinicians via sound alone when SpO2 is outside the target range of 90% to 95% for neonates on supplemental oxygen. Risk of blindness, organ damage, and death increase if SpO2 remains outside the target range. A more informative sonification may improve clinicians’ ability to maintain the target range.
Method: In two desktop experiments, nonclinicians’ ability to detect SpO2 range and direction of change was tested with novel versus conventional sonifications of simulated patient data. In Experiment 1, a “shoulder” sonification used larger pitch differences between adjacent saturation percentages for SpO2 values outside the target range. In Experiment 2, a “beacon” sonification used equal-appearing pitch differences, but when SpO2 was outside the target range, a fixed-pitch reference tone from the center of the target SpO2 range preceded every fourth pulse tone.
Results: The beacon sonification improved range identification accuracy over the control display (85% vs. 60%; p < .001), but the shoulder sonification did not (55% vs. 52%).
Conclusion: The beacon provided a distinct auditory alert and reference that significantly improved nonclinical participants’ ability to identify SpO2 range.
Application: Adding a beacon to the variable-pitch pulse oximeter sound may help clinicians identify when, and by how much, a neonate’s SpO2 deviates from the target range, particularly during patient transport situations when auditory information becomes essential.
Keyword Auditory displays
Critical care
Medical devices and technologies
Pediatrics and neonatology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 29 December 2015

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ)
Official 2016 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
School of Psychology Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 15 Mar 2016, 00:34:41 EST by System User on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)