Enhanced notification of critical ventilator events

J Am Med Inform Assoc. Nov-Dec 2005;12(6):589-95. doi: 10.1197/jamia.M1863. Epub 2005 Jul 27.


Mechanical ventilators are designed to generate alarms when patients become disconnected or experience other critical ventilator events. However, these alarms can blend in with other accustomed sounds of the intensive care unit. Ventilator alarms that go unnoticed for extended periods of time often result in permanent patient harm or death. We developed a system to monitor critical ventilator events through our existing hospital network. Whenever an event is identified, the new system takes control of every computer in the patient's intensive care unit and generates an enhanced audio and visual alert indicating that there is a critical ventilator event and identifies the room number. Once the alert is acknowledged or the event is corrected, all the computers are restored back to the pre-alert status and/or application. This paper describes the development and implementation of this system and reports the initial results, user acceptance, and the increase in valuable information and patient safety.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Systems
  • Equipment Failure
  • Hospital Information Systems*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Ventilators, Mechanical*