We conducted an experiment with a posttest, between-subjects design to evaluate the potential of emerging 3D telepresence technology to support collaboration in emergency health care. 3D telepresence technology has the potential to provide richer visual information than do current 2D video conferencing techniques. This may be of benefit in diagnosing and treating patients in emergency situations where specialized medical expertise is not locally available. The experimental design and results concerning information behavior are presented in the article "Exploring the Potential of Video Technologies for Collaboration in Emergency Medical Care: Part I. Information Sharing" (Sonnenwald et al., this issue). In this article, we explore paramedics' task performance during the experiment as they diagnosed and treated a trauma victim while working alone or in collaboration with a physician via 2D videoconferencing or via a 3D proxy. Analysis of paramedics' task performance shows that paramedics working with a physician via a 3D proxy performed the fewest harmful interventions and showed the least variation in task performance time. Paramedics in the 3D proxy condition also reported the highest levels of self-efficacy. Interview data confirm these statistical results. Overall, the results indicate that 3D telepresence technology has the potential to improve paramedics' performance of complex medical tasks and improve emergency trauma health care if designed and implemented appropriately.
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 2008, Vol 59, Issue 14, p. 2335-2349