Medical device alarms: new algorithm helps sort out issue of auditory masking, P.2

In our previous post, we began looking at the issue of auditory masking in the context of medical device alarms. As we noted, auditory masking can make it difficult, if not impossible, for health care providers in emergency room and surgical settings to do their job and to appropriately respond to critical situations that arise in the provision of care.

For most health care institutions, it is impractical to do the physical testing necessary to determine whether auditory masking will occur between devices. This makes it easier for medical institutions and providers to shun responsibility for addressing the risk and to put their patients at risk of harm. New research, however, shows that there may be an effective way to determine in advance the possibility of auditory masking. 

The research details an algorithm that has been developed which would allow health care institutions, providers and medical alarm manufacturers to determine if auditory masking will occur between devices. The algorithm confirms what providers familiar with medical alarms already know—that different alarms can end up masking one other even when they meet different sound standards.

The significance of the research is that it can help determine whether a provider was at fault for missing a medical alarm. Theoretically, in cases where the algorithm shows that auditory masking could not have occurred between two devices, this may suggest evidence of negligence. Providers in medical alarm cases may seek to defend themselves by claiming alarm fatigue, and this is certainly a possibility even when auditory masking does not occur, but the research could still help narrow down the cause of missed alarms and thereby contribute to sorting out liability in medical malpractice litigation.

It remains to be seen, of course, whether the algorithm, or similar methods of calculation, will be adopted by the courts and routinely used in medical malpractice cases.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Free Consultations | No Fee Unless We Win

Email us or call us at 866-585-1076 to discuss your medical malpractice case. There is no cost, no obligation and never a fee unless we are successful. You have nothing to lose by learning your rights and options today.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Request a Free Consult

Penobscot Building, 645 Griswold Street, Suite 4200
Detroit, MI 48226

Toll Free: 866-585-1076
Phone: 313-447-0634
Fax: 313-961-5985
Detroit Office Map

Ohio Office
315 East Main Street
Suite A
Ottawa, OH 45875

Phone: 269-220-3379
Ohio Office Map