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Insights into the problem of alarm fatigue with physiologic monitor devices: a comprehensive observational study of consecutive intensive care unit patients

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

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Source Name: PLOS ONE


Barbara J Drew, Patricia Harris, Jessica K Zegre-Hemsey, Tina Mammone, Daniel Schindler, Rebeca Salas-Boni, Yong Bai, Adelita Tinoco, Quan Ding, Xiao Hu

This thought provoking article by Drew et al., utilized state-of-the art monitoring technology to document the problem of "alarm fatigue" by recording an astounding number of alarm events; 2,558,760 unique alarms were triggered for 461 patients over a 31-day period.  They documented an audible alarm burden of 187/bed/day that is of great concern to patients and clinicians alike who must respond promptly to maintain safety, while confirming that 88.8% of these alarms were false.  The authors offer detailed documentation of this pervasive problem, cited repeatedly as one of the top 10 technological hazards of 2015, as well as offering realistic solutions that can be used to increase the reliability of current and future alarm systems.

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