Hospital alarms play an important role in patient monitoring, but false alarms and multiple alarms going off at the same time can be challenging to manage—leading to alarm fatigue among nurses. New research from The Ohio State University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences found the health care industry can improve hospital alarm design by borrowing from lessons learned by the aviation industry.
The research is published in the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) premier journal Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology (BI&T). Titled “Lessons from the Glass Cockpit for Innovation in Alarm Systems to Support Cognitive Work,” the research paper introduces three objectives for hospital alarms that focus on alerting the appropriate clinical team member, prioritizing alarms so the most pressing health issue is addressed first and providing direction on how to manage the patient’s health issue.
“Alarms are used to attract attention, but we believe alarms can also support awareness, prioritization, and decision making,” said Emily Patterson, lead author and associate professor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. "We aim to provide an approach to hospital alarms that goes beyond notifications and focuses on helping nurses have a better understanding of their patients.”
Patterson and her colleagues conducted a series of meetings among engineers with expertise in alarm design. They learned that aviation and clinical alarm systems share core safety objectives and challenges. However, they also determined that clinical alarm systems are unnecessarily complex compared to aviation.
Read the full results: https://doi.org/10.2345/0899-8205-55.1.29
AAMI (www.aami.org) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1967. It is a diverse community of more than 9,000 healthcare technology professionals united by one important mission—supporting the healthcare community in the development, management, and use of safe and effective health technology. AAMI is the primary source of consensus standards, both national and international, for the medical device industry, as well as practical information, support, and guidance for health technology and sterilization professionals.