Sonification of medication barcode readers – not always effective

There are some interesting observations from William Hyman writing for the AAMI blog on the sounds made by medical devices, and a discussion that this prompted on the National Patient Safety Foundation’s mailing list. Here are a few quotes from the article, which is linked below.

“Some of the responses provided interesting examples of the value and confusion created by device noises in general. One overriding issue is a lack of standardization when it comes to different systems and the meaning of sounds.”

“There was also the fundamental issue of whether adding more noise to the patient environment is a good idea, especially at night or during other periods of desired rest. As one person noted, “One more alert was not what was needed.””

“More basic is considering what the beep should mean and what it actually does mean. It seems to me that a single beep (if used) should be heard only on either a successful read or a failed read, but not both.”

“This scenario highlights two important points. One is that the design of medical devices, in this case as it relates to the beeps, has often been criticized for being the creation of engineers who do not have a practical understanding of the clinical environment.”

William Hyman ‘Beep BeepAAMIblog 21 April 2014

 

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