Visual Blood, a 3D Animated Computer Model to Optimize the Interpretation of Blood Gas Analysis

Bioengineering (Basel). 2023 Feb 25;10(3):293. doi: 10.3390/bioengineering10030293.


Acid-base homeostasis is crucial for all physiological processes in the body and is evaluated using arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis. Screens or printouts of ABG results require the interpretation of many textual elements and numbers, which may delay intuitive comprehension. To optimise the presentation of the results for the specific strengths of human perception, we developed Visual Blood, an animated virtual model of ABG results. In this study, we compared its performance with a conventional result printout. Seventy physicians from three European university hospitals participated in a computer-based simulation study. Initially, after an educational video, we tested the participants' ability to assign individual Visual Blood visualisations to their corresponding ABG parameters. As the primary outcome, we tested caregivers' ability to correctly diagnose simulated clinical ABG scenarios with Visual Blood or conventional ABG printouts. For user feedback, participants rated their agreement with statements at the end of the study. Physicians correctly assigned 90% of the individual Visual Blood visualisations. Regarding the primary outcome, the participants made the correct diagnosis 86% of the time when using Visual Blood, compared to 68% when using the conventional ABG printout. A mixed logistic regression model showed an odds ratio for correct diagnosis of 3.4 (95%CI 2.00-5.79, p < 0.001) and an odds ratio for perceived diagnostic confidence of 1.88 (95%CI 1.67-2.11, p < 0.001) in favour of Visual Blood. A linear mixed model showed a coefficient for perceived workload of -3.2 (95%CI -3.77 to -2.64) in favour of Visual Blood. Fifty-one of seventy (73%) participants agreed or strongly agreed that Visual Blood was easy to use, and fifty-five of seventy (79%) agreed that it was fun to use. In conclusion, Visual Blood improved physicians' ability to diagnose ABG results. It also increased perceived diagnostic confidence and reduced perceived workload. This study adds to the growing body of research showing that decision-support tools developed around human cognitive abilities can streamline caregivers' decision-making and may improve patient care.

Keywords: blood gas analysis; medical devices; point-of-care-testing; situational awareness; technology.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.