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1 - 20 of 44
Wang L, Goh KH, Yeow A, et al. J Med Internet Res. 2022;24:e23355.
Alert fatigue is an increasingly recognized patient safety concern. This retrospective study examined the association between habit and dismissal of indwelling catheter alerts among physicians at one hospital in Singapore. Findings indicate that physicians dismissed 92% of all alerts and that 73% of alerts were dismissed in 3 seconds or less. The study also concluded that a physician’s prior dismissal of alerts increases the likelihood of dismissing future alerts (habitual dismissal), raising concerns that physicians may be missing important alerts.

A 32-year-old pregnant woman presented with prelabor rupture of membranes at 37 weeks’ gestation. During labor, the fetal heart rate dropped suddenly and the obstetric provider diagnosed umbilical cord prolapse and called for an emergency cesarean delivery. Uterine atony was noted after delivery of the placenta, which quickly responded to oxytocin bolus and uterine massage.

Patterson ES, Rayo MF, Edworthy JR, et al. Hum Factors. 2022;64:126-142.
Alarm fatigue can lead to distraction and diminish safe care. Based on findings from their Patient Safety Learning Laboratory, the authors used human factors engineering to develop a classification system to organize, prioritize, and discriminate alarm sounds in order to reduce nurse response times.
Shah SN, Amato MG, Garlo KG, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:1081-1087.
Clinical decision support (CDS) alerts can improve patient safety, and prior research suggests that monitoring alert overrides can identify errors. Over a one-year period, this study found that medication-related CDS alerts associated with renal insufficiency were nearly always deemed inappropriate and were all overridden. These findings highlight the need for improvements in alert design, implementation, and monitoring of alert performance to ensure alerts are patient-specific and clinically appropriate.  
Alshahrani F, Marriott JF, Cox AR. Int J Clin Pharm. 2020;43:884-892.
Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) can prevent prescribing errors, but patient safety threats persist. Based on qualitative interviews with multidisciplinary prescribers, the authors identified several issues related to CPOE interacting within a complex prescribing environment, including alert fatigue, remote prescribing, and default auto-population of dosages.
Fleischman W, Ciliberto B, Rozanski N, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2020;38:1072-1076.
In this prospective study, researchers conducted direct observations in one urban, academic Emergency Department (ED) to determine whether and which ED monitor alarms led to observable changes in patients’ care. During 53 hours of observation, there were 1,049 alarms associated with 146 patients, resulting in clinical management changes in 5 patients. Researchers observed that staff did not observably respond to nearly two-thirds of alarms, which may be a sign of alarm fatigue.
Myers LC, Heard L, Mort E. Am J Crit Care. 2020;29:174-181.
This study reviewed medical malpractice claims data between 2007 and 2016 to describe the types of patient safety events involving critical care nurses. Decubitus ulcers were the most common diagnosis in claims involving ICU nurses and compared to nurses in emergency departments and operating rooms, ICU nurses were likely to have a malpractice claim alleging failure to monitor.
Co Z, Holmgren AJ, Classen DC, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020;27:1252-1258.
Using data from the Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) Evaluation Tool, this study compared hospital performance against fatal orders and nuisance orders. From 2017 to 2018, overall performance increased and fatal order performance improved slightly; there was no significant change in nuisance order performance; however, these results indicate that fatal alerts are not being prioritized and that over-alerting in some cases may be contributing to alert fatigue.
Powell L, Sittig DF, Chrouser K, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3:e206752-e.
Using root cause analysis data submitted to the Veterans Affairs (VA) National Center for Patient Safety from 2013 to 2018, this study analyzed health information technology (HIT)-related outpatient diagnostic delays to identify common safety concerns. The study identified five high-risk areas for diagnostic delays involving HIT: managing electronic health record inbox notifications and communications, clinicians gathering key diagnostic information, technical problems, data entry problems, and failure of a system to track test results.
A 54-year old women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was admitted for chronic respiratory failure. Due to severe hypoxemia, she was intubated, mechanically ventilated and required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). During the hospitalization, she developed clotting problems, which necessitated transfer to the operating room to change one of the ECMO components. On the way back to the intensive care unit, a piece of equipment became snagged on the elevator door and the system alarmed.
Pater CM, Sosa TK, Boyer J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:717-726.
Continuous vital sign monitoring can generate a large volume of alarm notifications that may not represent meaningful change in clinical status and can lead to alarm fatigue, which has become a patient safety priority. This article describes Plan-Do-Study-Act processes employed in the acute care cardiology unit of a large, urban academic medical center that resulted in a reduction in alarm notifications of 68% over 2.5 years. Patient safety was maintained as these improvements were made and reductions in alarm notifications were sustained for more than 18 months.
Yeh J, Wilson R, Young L, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2019.
Prior research has found that nonactionable alarms are common and contribute to alarm fatigue among providers in intensive care units. This single center study employed an interprofessional team-based approach to adjust the default thresholds for arrhythmias and specific parameters such as oxygen saturation, which resulted in a nearly 47% reduction in nonactionable alarms over a two-week period.
Computerized warnings and alarms are used to improve safety by alerting clinicians of potentially unsafe situations. However, this proliferation of alerts may have negative implications for patient safety as well.
Lifflander AL. JAMA. 2019;321:837-838.
Implementing new information systems can have unintended consequences on processes. This commentary explores insights from a physician, both as a clinician and as the family member of a patient, regarding the impact of hard stops in electronic health records intended to prevent gaps in data entry prior to task progression. The author raises awareness of the potential for patient harm due to interruptions and diminishing student and clinician skill in asking questions to build effective patient histories.
Short K, Chung YJ. Nursing (Brux). 2019;49:52-57.
Alarm fatigue contributes to distraction and can diminish care safety. This commentary reviews a single-center project that used smartphone technology to enhance cardiac monitoring. The authors describe the structure of the project, use of Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles to design the application, results of the pilot, and plans to expand the use of this technology to other units and broaden monitoring targets. A WebM&M commentary discussed harm associated with alarm fatigue.
Buckley MS, Rasmussen JR, Bikin DS, et al. Ther Adv Drug Saf. 2018;9:207-217.
This retrospective study examined the performance of trigger alerts designed to predict drug-related hazardous conditions in both ICU and non-ICU patients. The authors conclude that the alerts were not effective in identifying drug-related hazardous conditions in either setting and suggest that poorly performing alerts may contribute to alert fatigue.
Tolley CL, Slight SP, Husband AK, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2018;75:239-246.
This systematic review of clinical decision support for safe medication use found that such systems are incompletely implemented and lack standardization and integration of patient-specific factors. The authors suggest that reducing alert fatigue and employing human factors principles would enhance decision support effectiveness.