Design of medical device alarm systems

W A Hyman, P A Drinker
Medical Instrumentation 1983, 17 (2): 103-6
Medical device alarms are intended to enhance safety by augmenting the operator's ability to monitor an array of system and patient variables. To this end, alarm design must consider both technical and human requirements. Technical factors include selection of variables, limit-setting techniques, alarm reliability, and alarm output system. Human factors include the types of controls, displays, and instructional materials that assist the users in effective use of the machine. The designer and the user of medical devices must recognize that alarms can at times present problems unless the operator takes care to maintain correct use and to avoid false reliance on the alarm's ability to indicate all unacceptable conditions in the clinical setting.

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