Hospitals are places where clinicians are typically bombarded with a variety of alarms sounding from medical devices. However, the noise has become a serious distraction for clinicians who are being bombarded daily with thousands of alarms—the vast majority of which are false or not clinically actionable. All that noise is impacting patient safety, critics say.
Not surprisingly, providers have become desensitized to these alarms, a phenomenon known as alarm fatigue. To help address the problem, a 2014 Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal urged hospitals to prioritize alarm system safety and to develop policies and procedures to manage alarms and alarm fatigue. Yet, progress has been slow.
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