I try to alleviate the alarm fatigue problem in medicine. Alarm fatigue occurs when clinicians are desensitized by numerous alarms, many of which are false or clinically irrelevant. This is especially relevant in intensive care units where there are many alarm generating devices present.
To address this problem, I consider four different perspectives:
- Technical correctness of alarms: Do the measurements that caused the alarm correctly describe the reality? For example, technically false alarms could be caused by incorrect heart rate measurements that are, in turn, caused by patient movement impairing the ECG signal.
- Clinical relevance of alarms: Are there any consequences to the alarm? If there are no interventions addressing the cause of the alarms, the alarm itself is irrelevant, although it might be technically correct.
- Urgency of alarms: How much time elapses before there is a consequence to the alarm? This can help to estimate the importance of alarms which, in turn, can help to prioritize among them.
- Alarm prediction: Are some of the alarms foreseeable? If yes: Why is this an alarm at all? We might replace alarms with scheduled tasks to remove the sense of urgency and facilitate planning.