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Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik

Joint Journal of the German Society for Biomedical Engineering in VDE and the Austrian and Swiss Societies for Biomedical Engineering and the German Society of Biomaterials

Editor-in-Chief: Dössel, Olaf

Editorial Board: Augat, Peter / Haueisen, Jens / Jockenhoevel, Stefan / Knaup-Gregori, Petra / Lenarz, Thomas / Leonhardt, Steffen / Plank, Gernot / Radermacher, Klaus M. / Schkommodau, Erik / Stieglitz, Thomas / 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 /

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Volume 61, Issue 2 (Apr 2016)


Volume 57 (2012)

Development and experimental evaluation of an alarm concept for an integrated surgical workstation

Eva-Maria Zeißig
  • Chair of Biomedical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstraße 20, 52070 Aachen, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Armin Janß
  • Corresponding author
  • Chair of Biomedical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstraße 20, 52070 Aachen, Germany
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Jasmin Dell’Anna-Pudlik
  • Chair of Biomedical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstraße 20, 52070 Aachen, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Martina Ziefle
  • Communication Science, Human-Computer Interaction Center, RWTH Aachen University, Campus Boulevard 57, 52074 Aachen, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Klaus Radermacher
  • Chair of Biomedical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstraße 20, 52070 Aachen, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2016-04-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bmt-2015-0235


Introduction: Alarm conditions of the technical equipment in operating rooms represent a prevalent cause for interruptions of surgeons and scrub nurses, resulting in an increase of workload and potential reduction of patient safety. In this work, an alarm concept for an integrated operating room system based on open communication standards is developed and tested.

Methods: In a laboratory experiment, the reactions of surgeons were analysed, comparing the displaying of alarms on an integrated workstation and on single devices: disruptive effects of alarm handling on primary task (ratings of perceived distraction, resumption lag, deterioration of speed, accuracy, and prospective memory), efficiency and effectiveness of identification of alarms, as well as perceived workload were included.

Results: The identification of the alarm cause is significantly more efficient and effective with the integrated alarm concept. Moreover, a slightly lower deterioration of performance of the primary task due to the interruption of alarm handling was observed.

Conclusion: Displaying alarms on an integrated workstation supports alarm handling and consequently reduces disruptive effects on the primary task. The findings show that even small changes can reduce workload in a complex work environment like the operating room, resulting in improved patient safety.

Keywords: alarm handling; human-computer interaction; integrated operating room; interruptions; surgical workstation; UI design


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About the article

Corresponding author: Armin Janß, Chair of Biomedical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstraße 20, 52070 Aachen, Germany, Phone: +49 (0)241-80 23867

Received: 2015-12-07

Accepted: 2016-03-09

Published Online: 2016-04-06

Published in Print: 2016-04-01

Citation Information: Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik, ISSN (Online) 1862-278X, ISSN (Print) 0013-5585, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bmt-2015-0235.

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