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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Improving alarm performance in the medical intensive care unit using delays and clinical context.

Görges M, Markewitz BA, Westenskow DR. Anesthesia and analgesia. 2009;108:1546-52.

The phenomenon of alert fatigue, in which clinicians ignore safety reminders that are excessively frequent or clinically insignificant, has been well documented in the information technology literature. This time–motion study documents the same phenomenon in the intensive care unit (ICU), finding that clinicians ignored 41% of alerts. The authors provide suggestions for improving the specificity of alarm systems in the ICU.