News Headlines Article

At the Hospital, Better Responses to Those Beeping Alarms
The Wall Street Journal

In hospitals, alarms on patient-monitoring devices create a cacophony of noise day and night — beeping, pinging and ringing so often that doctors and nurses ignore them, turn them off or just stop hearing them.

Now, hospitals are adopting solutions to silence or eliminate unnecessary alarms, while ensuring that staffers don’t miss alerts that could signal a life-threatening crisis. Smarter technology and more-precise monitoring practices are helping prevent false alarms, alert nurses to true emergencies, and identify deteriorating patients before an alarm signals a crisis.

As many as 90% of alarms are false or don’t require any immediate action, studies show. But when staffers become desensitized — a syndrome known as “alarm fatigue” — they often overlook the signals that are critical, leading to deadly mistakes.