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Alarm Fatigue & Patient Safety

Electronic medical devices are an integral part of patient care, providing vital life support and physiologic monitoring that improve safety throughout hospital care units
Felipe Urdaneta Sep 11, 2019
In the clinical setting, there is a high frequency of alarms. These alarms can be of two types: physiologic and device function.
The Joint Commission, recognizing the clinical significance of alarm fatigue, has made clinical alarm management a National Patient Safety Goal
Although alarms must be audible, reducing volume might be possible, especially for alarms that do not indicate a life-threatening issues, this can alleviate the level of noise pollution in the operating room and intensive care unit.
Alarm fatigue is a multifaceted problem with multiple contributing factors, including false alarms, and nonactionable alarms.
Alarm fatigue is defined as an increase in provider’s response time or a decrease in response rate to an alarm as a result of an excessive number of them. This condition also occurs in other professions (e.g., transportation), and has been implicated in industry and medical accidents.
This a complex problem, and potential solutions include redesigning organizational aspects of environment, layout, workflow and process, and safety culture.