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Comment & Response
August 13, 2014

Hospital Alarms and Patient Safety—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor
JAMA. 2014;312(6):651-652. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.7661

In Reply In response to our recent Viewpoint, Drs Barach and Arora state that we overlooked the most important reason to redesign the hospital acoustic environment of care. Barach and Arora cite several articles supporting the assertion that hospital noise is associated with adverse patient satisfaction and clinical well-being.

We do not disagree with Barach and Arora that hospital noise is an important concern. But their message does not deviate from our proposed schema, which is also aimed at improving patient care. First, it is important to remember that not all alarms are auditory in nature. A novel approach that takes into account different sensory modalities through which alerts can be delivered is a key aspect of our proposal. For example, visual, vibratory, or targeted alerts can be delivered through the use of proximity sensors, specialized wristbands, and e-mails for nonurgent tasks.

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