Problems Associated with Audible Medical Device Alarms

September 1, 2013 | Evaluations & Guidance


An article in the May 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association(JAMIA) examines the research related to five medical device alarm safety issues: false alarms, alarm philosophy, audible alarm design, combining alarms, and the shortcomings of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s IEC 60601-1-8 medical alarms standard.

In the false alarms discussion, the author notes that the high prevalence of false alarms in the clinical setting has been referenced in many studies and has been shown to contribute to alarm fatigue. She states, “One of the major causes of false alarms in medical devices is that the alarm algorithms underpinning the coding and interpretation of the signals from patients are poor and...

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