Alarm Compliance In Healthcare: Design Considerations For Actionable Alarms (In Intensive Care Units)

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Sanz-Segura, Rosana (1); Manchado P
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Zaragoza
Section: Design for healthcare
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


Intensive care units are technologically advanced environments that are designed to safeguard the patient while their vitals are stabilized for further treatment. Audible and visual alarms are part of the healthcare ecology. However, these alarms are so many that clinicians suffer from a syndrome called ?alarm fatigue? and often do not comply with the task alarm is conveying. Measuring compliance with rules in the workspace and determining the success of a system belongs to the field of ergonomics and is based on data collected through task observations and scoring. In this paper, we will explore compliance with critical alarms by not only from their potential success or failure perspective but also from the perspectives of the clinician capacity, needs, and motivations to comply with alarms in critical environments. We will finally, reflect on further possible design strategies to increase compliance in critical care that are beyond following rules per se but through intrinsic motivation.

Keywords: Compliance, Design practice, Decision making, Audible alarms, Design engineering


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