Congressman wants IOM to study alarm fatigue

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Congressman wants IOM to study alarm fatigue

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | December 28, 2011
Rep. Ed Markey
A Massachusetts congressman wants the Institute of Medicine to conduct a study on alarm fatigue hazards, the Boston Globe reports. The call comes after investigations have linked hundreds of deaths over the past five or six years to the issue, in which doctors and nurses inundated with alarm noises end up ignoring critical alerts.

In a letter sent earlier this month, Rep. Edward Markey, a Democrat, asked Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to look into the matter. He also recommended getting the IOM to develop guidelines for medical device manufacturers and health care providers to better handle alarms, and to aid in data collection, the Globe said.

IOM, an independent, nonprofit research group, is possibly best known for bringing attention to medical errors with its report, "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System," published 12 years ago.

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Alarm problems have actually been in the news quite a bit this year. The problem even topped ECRI Institute's list of the current top 10 health technology hazards.

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