Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik

Editor-in-Chief: Dössel, Olaf

Editorial Board Member: Augat, Peter / Haueisen, Jens / Jockenhoevel, Stefan / Lenarz, Thomas / Leonhardt, Steffen / Plank, Gernot / Radermacher, Klaus M. / Schkommodau, Erik / Schmitz, Georg / Stieglitz, Thomas / Witte, Herbert / Boenick, Ulrich / Jaramaz, Branislav / Kraft, Marc / Lenthe, Harry / Lo, Benny / Mainardi, Luca / Micera, Silvestro / Penzel, Thomas / Robitzki, Andrea A. / Schaeffter, Tobias / Snedeker, Jess G. / Sörnmo, Leif / Sugano, Nobuhiko / Werner, Jürgen / Wintermantel, Erich /

IMPACT FACTOR increased in 2015: 1.650

See all formats and pricing


Select Volume and Issue


Volume 57 (2012)

Medical device alarms

Matthias Borowski1, a / Matthias Görges2, a / Roland Fried1 / Olaf Such3 / Christian Wrede4 / 5

1Technische Universität Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany

2University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

3Philips Medical, DA Best, The Netherlands

4Helios Klinikum Berlin-Buch, Berlin, Germany

5Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany

aMatthias Borowski and Matthias Görges contributed equally to this manuscript.

Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. med. Michael Imhoff, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Biomedizinische Technik im VDE, Fachausschuss Methodik der Patientenüberwachung, Abteilung für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsstraße 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany Phone: +49-231-9730220

Citation Information: Biomedizinische Technik/Biomedical Engineering. Volume 56, Issue 2, Pages 73–83, ISSN (Online) 1862-278X, ISSN (Print) 0013-5585, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bmt.2011.005, March 2011

Publication History

Published Online:


The high number of false positive alarms has long been known to be a serious problem in critical care medicine – yet it remains unresolved. At the same time, threats to patient safety due to missing or suppressed alarms are being reported. The purpose of this paper is to present results from a workshop titled “Too many alarms? Too few alarms?” organized by the Section Patient Monitoring and the Workgroup Alarms of the German Association of Biomedical Engineering of the Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies. The current situation regarding alarms and their problems in intensive care, such as lack of clinical relevance, alarm fatigue, workload increases due to clinically irrelevant alarms, usability problems in alarm systems, problems with manuals and training, and missing alarms due to operator error are outlined, followed by a discussion of solutions and strategies to improve the current situation. Finally, the need for more research and development, focusing on signal quality considerations, networking of medical devices at the bedside, diagnostic alarms and predictive warnings, usability of alarm systems, education of healthcare providers, creation of annotated clinical databases for testing, standardization efforts, and patient monitoring in the regular ward, are called for.

Keywords: alarm systems; equipment design; intensive care unit; noise prevention and control; physiologic monitoring; safety management

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Matthias Görges, Nicholas C. West, Nancy A. Christopher, Jennifer L. Koch, Sonia M. Brodie, Nasim Lowlaavar, Gillian R. Lauder, and J. Mark Ansermino
Anesthesia & Analgesia, 2016, Volume 122, Number 4, Page 1132
Ok Min Cho, Hwasoon Kim, Young Whee Lee, and Insook Cho
Healthcare Informatics Research, 2016, Volume 22, Number 1, Page 46
C. Neuhaus, R. Röhrig, G. Hofmann, S. Klemm, S. Neuhaus, S. Hofer, M. Thalheimer, M.A. Weigand, and C. Lichtenstern
Der Anaesthesist, 2015
Keith J. Ruskin and Dirk Hueske-Kraus
Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology, 2015, Volume 28, Number 6, Page 685
Quan Ding, Yong Bai, Adelita Tinoco, David Mortara, Duc Do, Noel G Boyle, Michele M Pelter, and Xiao Hu
Physiological Measurement, 2015, Volume 36, Number 12, Page 2405
Shuchisnigdha Deb and David Claudio
IIE Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering, 2015, Volume 5, Number 3, Page 183
Colleen Walsh-Irwin and Corrine Y. Jurgens
Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 2015, Volume 34, Number 3, Page 134
C. van Pul, H.P.M.E. v.d. Mortel, J.J.L. v.d. Bogaart, T. Mohns, and P. Andriessen
Acta Paediatrica, 2015, Volume 104, Number 6, Page e247
J. Edworthy
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 2013, Volume 20, Number 3, Page 584
Yong Bai, Duc H. Do, Patricia Rae Eileen Harris, Daniel Schindler, Noel G. Boyle, Barbara J. Drew, and Xiao Hu
Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 2015, Volume 53, Page 81
Christopher G. Scully, Shawn Forrest, Loriano Galeotti, Suzanne B. Schwartz, and David G. Strauss
Annals of Emergency Medicine, 2015, Volume 65, Number 4, Page 400
Lilly M. Guardia-LaBar, Elizabeth Ann Scruth, Judy Edworthy, Anne M. Foss-Durant, and Daniel Hunter Burgoon
Clinical Nurse Specialist, 2014, Volume 28, Number 3, Page 135
Thomas Purbaugh
Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 2014, Volume 33, Number 1, Page 4
Judy Edworthy, Christina Meredith, Elizabeth Hellier, and David Rose
Ergonomics, 2013, Volume 56, Number 9, Page 1400
Matthias Görges, Pamela Winton, Valentyna Koval, Joanne Lim, Jonathan Stinson, Peter T. Choi, Stephan K. W. Schwarz, Guy A. Dumont, and J. Mark Ansermino
Anesthesia & Analgesia, 2013, Volume 117, Number 2, Page 380
N.M. Kosse, K. Brands, J.M. Bauer, T. Hortobagyi, and C.J.C. Lamoth
International Journal of Medical Informatics, 2013, Volume 82, Number 9, Page 743
F. R. de Man, S. Greuters, C. Boer, D. P. Veerman, and S. A. Loer
Anaesthesia, 2013, Volume 68, Number 8, Page 804
Fabian Güiza, Jelle Van Eyck, and Geert Meyfroidt
Journal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing, 2013, Volume 27, Number 4, Page 449
Avinash Konkani, Barbara Oakley, and Thomas J. Bauld
Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology, 2012, Volume 46, Number 6, Page 478
Eyal Zimlichman, Martine Szyper-Kravitz, Zvika Shinar, Tal Klap, Shiraz Levkovich, Avraham Unterman, Ronen Rozenblum, Jeffrey M. Rothschild, Howard Amital, and Yehuda Shoenfeld
Journal of Hospital Medicine, 2012, Volume 7, Number 8, Page 628
Sue Sendelbach
Nursing Clinics of North America, 2012, Volume 47, Number 3, Page 375
Xiao Hu, Monica Sapo, Val Nenov, Tod Barry, Sunghan Kim, Duc H. Do, Noel Boyle, and Neil Martin
Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 2012, Volume 45, Number 5, Page 913
Jo M. Solet and Paul R. Barach
Progress in Pediatric Cardiology, 2012, Volume 33, Number 1, Page 85

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.