Philips makes patient monitoring more peaceful

  • February 20, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

FDA 510(k) clearance of the latest Philips IntelliVue patient monitoring software should help make hospitals a quieter place.

Philips Sounds can reduce patient monitoring alarm noise by up to 66% to create a more peaceful, healing environment for patients and caregivers.

Dutch giant Philips has received 510(k) clearance for IntelliVue patient monitor software that includes an alarm package available in the USA and more than 200 countries worldwide.

Noise in hospitals can impact the quality of life and health of patients, their families, and their care providers. In the average ICU, patient monitors account for up to 82% of alarm tones with up to 350 alarms per patient every day. While alarms function to gain attention, over time the sheer number of them can wear down caregivers and contribute to the anxiety of patients and their families. To help drive alarm management towards a more peaceful, healing environment for patients and caregivers, Philips has applied a fresh perspective to acute patient monitor alarm sounds by collaborating with clinicians and sound experts.

“While alarms in acute care settings must be effective, they should be sensible, informative and respectful of the surrounding environment and the people in it,” said Christoph Pedain from Philips. “Throughout the process, we asked for input from care providers, administrators, patients and their families who are exposed to these alarms regularly and leveraged powerful data to help improve the experience overall.”

The alarm evolution involved a significant research investment to capture and implement input from care providers and patients in alarm-heavy environments. Philips worked with the sound design group SenSound (www.sensoundaudio.com) to soften and round the alarm tones and adjust alarm intervals to more gently signal status or request action using a more soothing – yet still impactful – set of alarm sounds. These changes are designed to help improve the patient and caregiver experience. Philips’ patient monitoring sounds have been proven to reduce alarm noise by up to 66%.

“Alarm management within the hospital setting is complicated and multifaceted, and even the smallest change will have an enormous impact,” said Andreas Walden from Philips (www.philips.com). “When we think about medical alarms generally, we make sure they are audible, prompt action, and can be differentiated from other sounds. But we haven’t asked questions like ‘Is this something a nurse on a 12-hour shift should hear every day?’ or ‘Can a sick patient hear this without getting scared?’ The ability to address those concerns is the beginning of transforming the entire soundscape in the hospital.”

With over one million IntelliVue patient monitors in use, the evolution of monitor sounds (www.usa.philips.com/healthcare/technology/alarm-sounds) has the potential to enhance and change the soundscape in healthcare facilities worldwide, helping advance the healing environment for both patients and hospital staff.