MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor of Music Cognition/Percussion at McMaster University
Founding director of the MAPLE Lab
Core member of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind.
Prof. Schutz is also a professional musician and directs McMaster’s percussion ensemble.
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Hospitals around the world are filled with devices generating a
constant stream of tones conveying information to medical staff.
overburdened healthcare professionals, and contributes to burnout in
medical staff. The Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) regularly
includes problems with auditory alarms in their list of "Top 10 Health
Technology Hazards" and they are so problematic an FDA survey
implicated them in hundreds of patient deaths.
While there is currently a lot of interest in how to improve alarm
management protocols, this study is different in that it looks at
improving the quality of the alarm sounds themselves. For historical
reasons many default to simplistic "beeps" which are generally
annoying. While annoying is useful for critical alarms requiring
immediate action, the vast majority of these messages are merely
intended to update medical staff of changes (i.e. blood pressure is
rising) or indicate other situations that do not require immediate
action. Unfortunately, many machines use the same simplistic and
annoying "beeps" regardless of whether the messages are urgent or
non-urgent. This constant flood of annoying beeps negatively affects
both patients (extending recovery time due to interrupted rest) and
staff (who can develop "alarm fatigue" from the constant cacophony). (more…)