The use of head-worn displays for vital sign monitoring in critical and acute care: Systematic review

Francine Elrose, Andrew Hill, David Liu, Isaac Salisbury, Thien LeCong, Robert G. Loeb, Penelope Sanderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Continuous monitoring of patient vital signs may improve patient outcomes. Head-worn displays (HWDs) can provide hands-free access to continuous vital sign information of patients in critical and acute care contexts and thus may reduce instances of unrecognized patient deterioration. Objective: The purpose of the study is to conduct a systematic review of the literature to evaluate clinical, surrogate, and process outcomes when clinicians use HWDs for continuous patient vital sign monitoring. Methods: The review was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42019119875) and followed the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses) guidelines. A literature search was conducted for articles published between January 1995 and June 2020 using the following databases: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Web of Science. Overall, 2 reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts and then assessed the full text of the articles. Original research articles that evaluated the clinical, surrogate, or process outcomes of head-mounted displays for continuous vital sign monitoring in critical care or acute care contexts were included. Results: Of the 214 records obtained, 15 (7%) articles met the predefined criteria and were included in this review. Of the 15 studies, 7 (47%) took place in a clinical context, whereas the remainder took place in a simulation environment. In 100% (7/7) of the studies that evaluated gaze behavior, changes were found in gaze direction with HWDs. Change detection improvements were found in 67% (2/3) of the studies evaluating changes in the participants’ ability to detect changes in vital signs. Of the 10 studies assessing the ease of use of the HWD, most participants of 7 (70%) studies reported that the HWD was easy to use. In all 6 studies in which participants were asked if they would consider using the HWD in their practice, most participants responded positively, but they often suggested improvements on the HWD hardware or display design. Of the 7 studies conducted in clinical contexts, none reported any clinical outcomes. Conclusions: Although there is limited and sometimes conflicting evidence about the benefits of HWDs from certain surrogate and process outcomes, evidence for clinical outcomes is lacking. Recommendations are to employ user-centered design when developing HWDs, perform longitudinal studies, and seek clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27165
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Clinical setting
  • Head-mounted display
  • Head-worn display
  • Healthcare
  • Medical setting
  • Patient monitoring
  • Wearable
  • Wearable device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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