Safety-critical industries require accurate task performance that is often multifaceted and reliant on time-sharing between concurrent tasks. Clinical tasks often involve multiple sensory modalities. Some of these tasks are auditory, such as spoken communication with a team and detecting auditory alarms, and some tasks contain additional visual components, such as ascertaining vital signs. The auditory domain is under considerable pressure in clinical work. Noise levels in the clinical realm have become a problem in clinical environments, where they have gradually risen over the last few decades. Noise, or competing and unwanted sounds, are a particular challenge in healthcare. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends nighttime noise levels in hospitals not exceed 30dB, yet the average nighttime level has been found to be much higher, typically at 60dB. The overall noise level in hospital settings (alarms and non-alarms), including the OR, can be detrimental to both patient recovery and clinician performance. Aside from their loudness, the nature of clinical audible alarms is undergoing considerable change since evidence has emerged that the tonal style of alarms, particularly those advocated in the medical device global safety standard, IEC 60601-1-8, are difficult to learn and recognize. In addition to auditory medical alarms, research in the domains of neuroscience, psychology, biomedical engineering, and human factors engineering is striving to develop optimal multisensory (auditory, visual, haptic) alarms to improve patient care and attenuate fatigue.
Critical Care Doctors
Experienced or advanced Critical Care Nurses
Upon completion of this activity, you should be able to:
1 November 2020
31 October 2023
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