ProjectSound and alarms in healthcare

Key Areas
Sound and alarms in healthcare

In a collaboration with the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Piteå Älvdals Hospital, Interactive Institute researched the needs of the personnel and designed new alarms for the monitoring screens in the central. The problem was characterized by a large amount of so called attention alarms and a soundscape that was perceived as stressful. In contrast to control panels in other centrals, where the problems often can be solved at the computer screen, the hospital staff always solve the problem elsewhere – most often by the patient. By guiding the nurses through the use of smart alarm sounds, we can have a positivt impact on the work environment for the staff as well as the experience for patients and their relatives.

In Piteå, ICU patients are divided into one of four categories: ICU, HIC (Heart Intensive Care), post-op (wake up after planned surgery) or telemetry (patients whose EKG’s are remotely monitored). This, together with the distribution of work amongst the nurses and assistant nurses, shaped the design of the new alarms. The result was a set of variants for new, smart alarm sounds that was tested over two weeks in the monitoring central. The sounds and the findings of the study are the foundation for a long-term work aimed at enhancing the alarm sounds and soundscape in hospitals.