Sensory Overload and Technology in Critical Care

Shu Fen Wung, Daniel C. Malone, Laura Szalacha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In this focus group study, we identified issues associated with sensory overload from medical technology alarms/alerts for intensive care unit nurses. Participants indicated that alarms from cardiopulmonary monitors, ventilators, and intravenous pumps contributed the most to sensory overload and, yet, these alarms were also deemed the most helpful. Alerts/alarms from electronic health records and medication dispensing systems were rated low in contributing to sensory overload, as well as being the least helpful. Specific device/technology barriers, related to device alerts/alarms, are detailed. Future user-centered and integrated improvements in alarm systems associated with medical devices in the intensive care unit are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalCritical care nursing clinics of North America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Device alarms
  • Human factors
  • Intensive care
  • Sensory overload
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care


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