The excessive number of nonactionable and false alarms signals from medical devices produces alarm fatigue.1,2 Alarm fatigue is a cognitive stress adaptation technique that results in unsafe workarounds, such as a delayed response time to alarms, disabled alarms, volumes set to inaudible, parameters limits set to unsafe zones, or alarms paused without a thoughtful consideration of the warning message. Alarm fatigue is a national patient safety concern1-3 and, to our knowledge, the most common factor contributing to alarm-related deaths.2,4 Physiologic monitors are the medical devices associated with the highest number of alarms5 and deaths.4
Sowan AK, Reed CC. A Complex Phenomenon in Complex Adaptive Health Care Systems—Alarm Fatigue. JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(6):515–516. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.5137
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