On any given day in the United States, there are about 480,000 patients in hospital for reasons other than psychiatric care or rehabilitation, each generating, on average, about 135 clinical alarms per day. Studies have shown that over 90% of these alarms result in no action being taken. Alarm errors, either alarms that sound and receive no response or alarms that fail to sound when they should, number roughly 8 million per day yet data on adverse alarm impacts indicate about 200 alarm-related deaths per year and a total of a little more than 500 adverse impacts per year. A compelling conclusion from this data is that clinical alarms in hospital are very inefficient and ineffective tools for monitoring medical emergencies. Much attention has been dedicated to alarms recently, with the general goal of improving response to alarms in order to ensure no medical emergency is missed. While this work is of immediate use and is vitally important to the operation of the modern hospital, it focuses on minor changes to the existing systems rather than on trying to design the optimum system for the future. It is future alarm systems that we consider here, with an aim of designing a more effective and efficient system for use in hospitals in roughly 20 years.
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Meeting abstract. No PDF available.
April 01 2016
Death by alarm: An error model of hospital alarms
J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 139, 2201 (2016)
Ilene Busch-Vishniac; Death by alarm: An error model of hospital alarms. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 April 2016; 139 (4_Supplement): 2201. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4950561
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