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Coordination in High-Velocity Environment

National Science Foundation (IIS-9900406 and ITR-0081868)
Principal Investigator: Yan Xiao

Computation and communication technologies have the potential to improve coordination in dynamic task and team situations. To realize that potential a deep understanding of the coordination processes used by teams is required. This project investigates the coordination processes used by distributed teams of experts operating in a highly dynamic work domain -- a trauma patient resuscitation unit. The main objective is to develop a framework for modeling coordination processes by team members in dynamic, multi-tasking, highly stressful environments. An interdisciplinary team with wide-ranging research backgrounds including team performance, information technologies, medicine, nursing, health care informatics, management sciences, biomedical engineering and ethnography will conduct the project.

Qualitative and quantitative methods including ethnographic studies, surveys and interviews will be used to capture coordination processes in situ in trauma center settings. The project will result in a better understanding of the role of various communication media and how each medium is used in dynamic work settings to achieve work coordination and maintain adequate awareness. A set of design principles will be developed that can guide the deployment of communication-computation systems in domains where tasks are highly dynamic and accomplished by multi-disciplinary teams.

NSF Project Final Report

Distant leadership under stress

Army Research Institute
Principal Investigator: Yan Xiao

The project is to investigate relationships between leadership and team performance when leaders are at a distance. Leadership in team performance can hardly be overstated in many situations, understanding how leadership is related to team performance is important to military as well as civilian organizations. With widespread use of electronic communication technologies, it becomes essential to establish a theoretical and empirical basis for predicting how new communication technologies impact on leadership and team performance.

To better understand distant leadership under stress, we propose a three-year project with two intertwining lines of efforts: (1) to develop a conceptual model of the interaction between task structure, stress levels, communication modality, and leadership effectiveness; (2) to conduct an empirical study of distant leadership using a real, dynamic, and stressful work environment as a laboratory. Specific aims : (a) developing a matrix of leadership functions and situations in which leadership functions are needed; (b) developing a model of nominal leadership processes through which a leader applies control over and influence on team activities, either co-located or at a distance; (c) developing process measures of leadership in a team environment; and (d) conducting a series prospective studies in a real, event-driven, stressful environment to evaluate the impact of various communication modalities on leadership, using the measures developed.

Distant Leadership Final Report

Coordination Processes and Awareness Support in Dynamic Work Environment

National Science Foundation
Principal Investigator: Yan Xiao

Dynamic work environments require team members to maintain an awareness of resources, incoming workload, and activities and knowledge of other people for the purpose of coordinating plans and activities, often across time and location. This proposal systematically investigates the coordination processes used by distributed expertise teams operating in high velocity work environments. We will explore how existing coordinative artifacts are used to support awareness by team members of each others' status, current and forthcoming workload, and understanding of the task.

We will also introduce and study the impact of new digital coordination technologies and evaluate how the properties of computer-enhanced coordinative artifacts affect awareness support. Ethnographic studies, surveys and interviews will be conducted in a real , highly dynamic, multi-tasking, multi-disciplinary work environment. The proposed three-year effort will establish a theoretic-empirical basis for augmenting coordination processes in teams through computer technology. The two main objectives of the proposal are: (1) to develop a framework for modeling coordination processes by team members in highly dynamic, multi-tasking environments and (2) with the guidance of the framework, to explore a category of awareness support techniques based on shared visual displays.

NPSF Final Report Xiao

Medical Nomadic Computing Applications

National Library of Medicine
Principal Investigator: Yan Xiao

Our objective is to provide reliable and robust transmission of multimedia diagnostic information from enroute ambulances to receiving physicians using wireless, nomadic Next Generation Internet (NGI) technologies. Combining wireless data communications and NGI technologies allows developing a Next Generation Mobile Telemedicine System (NGM) that revolutionizes the care possible during patient transport. The real-time transmission of patient data from an accident scene and during transport to the receiving trauma center enables diagnostic and treatment opportunities previously unavailable before arrival at the receiving center. Such transmission of patient data also has the potential to significantly improve the preparedness of the emergency department staff prior to the patient arrival.

High Risk, Beneficial Procedures: Best Practice Model

National Institutes of Health
Principal Investigator: Colin Mackinzie  

To demonstrate the value of a video-based procedural analysis and to develop a research framework for studying the effects of team and environmental factors on performance. Such detailed video, task, and ergonomic analyses may be useful in many emergency procedures as a means of categorizing and developing best clinical practice models.

Auditory warning signals in critical care settings

National Patient Safety Foundation
Principal Investigator: Yan Xiao

This project is a study of two complimentary parts on the informational value and user responses to auditory warning signals in critical care settings: (1) a prospective , comprehensive (video-based with mobile eye-tracking devices) data collection in real patient care (initial trauma patient resuscitation and anesthesia care) and (2) a set of simulator experiments also with the use of eye-tracking devices. We aim at both an understanding of the value of auditory alarms as one of many information sources with which clinicians consult, as well as a set of design guidelines that are based on empirical research. Our efforts should make an initial step in realizing the full potential of alarms in safeguarding the patient and reducing errors.

NPSF Final Report Xiao

Informatics and other technology for the NHAAP

National Library of Medicine
Principal Investigator: Yan Xiao

This project is to develop and evaluate a miniaturized heart function indicator, which analyzes heart rhythm data to derive indicators of acute heart diseases. The modes of operations are anticipated for the indicator: warning/monitor display device, data recorder, and automatic stress call. These three modes are to address two categories of the delay in current treatment response system: delay in activating EMS system and delay in early diagnosis. There have been extensive work on the analysis of heart rhythm data for the purpose of diagnosing heart conditions. Nearly all of them deal with off-line analysis.

We plan to exploit algorithms for real-time analysis of heart-rhythm data. A recent article in Physical Review Letter describes a method based on wavelet analysis. Our long term goal is to develop a wrist-watch type device to be worn by high-risk patients and then evaluate clinical utilities. Three uses of the device are anticipated to benefit the patient: as a real-time warning device for the patient, a data recorder for physician to download, and an automatic stress call device.