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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Treatment plan evaluation is a clinical decision-making problem that involves visual search and analysis in a contextually rich environment, including delineated structures and isodose lines superposed on CT data. It is a two-step process that includes visual analysis and clinical reasoning. In this work, we used eye tracking methods to gain more knowledge about the treatment plan evaluation process in radiation therapy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Dose distributions on a single transverse slice of ten prostate cancer treatment plans were presented to eight decision makers. Their eye movements and fixations were recorded with an EyeLink1000 remote eye-tracker. Total evaluation time, dwell time, number and duration of fixations on pre-segmented areas of interest were measured. RESULTS: The main structures receiving more and longer fixations (PTV, rectum, bladder) correspond to the main trade-offs evaluated in a typical prostate plan. Radiation oncologists made more fixations on the main structures compared to the medical physicists. Radiation oncologists fixated longer on the rectum when visited for the first time, while medical physicists fixated longer on the bladder. CONCLUSION: Our results quantify differences in the visual evaluation patterns between radiation oncologists and medical physicists, which indicate differences in their decision making strategies.

Original publication




Journal article


Z Med Phys

Publication Date





318 - 324


Decision making, Eye tracking, Plan quality, Prostate, Decision Making, Eye Movements, Humans, Male, Physicians, Prostatic Neoplasms, Radiotherapy, Tomography, X-Ray Computed