Learnability and discriminability of melodic medical equipment alarms

Sanderson, P.M., Wee, A., & Lacherez, P. (2006) Learnability and discriminability of melodic medical equipment alarms. Anaesthesia, 61(2), pp. 142-147.

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Melodic alarms proposed in the IEC 60601-1-8 standard for medical electrical equipment were tested for learnability and discriminability. Thirty-three non-anaesthetist participants learned the alarms over two sessions of practice, with or without mnemonics suggested in the standard. Fewer than 30% of participants could identify the alarms with 100% accuracy at the end of practice. Confusions persisted between pairs of alarms, especially if mnemonics were used during learning (p = 0.011). Participants responded faster (p < 0.00001) and more accurately (p = 0.002) to medium priority alarms than to high priority alarms, even though they rated the high priority alarms as sounding more urgent (p < 0.00001). Participants with at least 1 year of formal musical training identified the alarms more accurately (p = 0.0002) than musically untrained participants, and found the task easier overall (p < 0.00001). More intensive studies of the IEC 60601-1-8 alarms are needed for their effectiveness to be determined.

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ID Code: 49210
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2005.04502.x
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Deposited On: 19 Mar 2012 22:34
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2012 22:34

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