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Combatting Alarm Fatigue

The constant beeping of hospital machines can wear thin on doctors and nurses, who begin ignoring the noisy equipment. This desensitization, called alarm fatigue, is causing serious injury and even death in hospitals around the world. "Sound Medicine" host Anne Ryder speaks with Maria Cvach, M.S., R.N., about why alarm fatigue is dangerous and what’s being done to combat it. At Johns Hopkins, Cvach and a team of medical professionals have been decreasing the number of non-actionable alarms per bed, per day. Non-actionable alarms are used to indicate a problem with the machine, not the patient. After working to decrease the number of non-actionable alarms, as well as duplicative and false alarms, Johns Hopkins saw a 47 percent decrease in total alarms on two test units.