Navigation Links
Three Lessons Learned to Reduce Alarm Fatigue and Improve Alarm Management and Patient Safety in Hospitals

CHICAGO, June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety recently released three lessons to reduce alarm fatigue.

The need to urgently address this issue has been emphasized by The Joint Commission in its Sentinel Event Alert #50, "Medical device alarm safety in hospitals." According to The Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert database, between January 2008 and June 2012, there were 98 alarm related events reported, of which:

  • 80 resulted in death (82%)
  • 13 resulted in permanent loss of function (13%)
  • 5 resulted in unexpected additional care or extended care (5%)

According to The Joint Commission, alarm fatigue occurs when clinicians become desensitized or immune to the sound of an alarm. Fatigued clinicians may:

  • Turn down alarm volume
  • Turn off alarm
  • Adjust alarm settings.

Any of these actions may jeopardize patient safety. A tragic example of alarm fatigue is 17-year old Mariah Edwards, who following successful removal of her tonsils, died after nurses muted the sound on the monitors that were in place to alert caregivers of deterioration of her physical condition following opioid administration.

First Lesson -- To Reduce Alarms Turn to John Hopkins Research

The most referenced research for reducing false alarms and increasing the number of actionable alarms is that of Maria Cvach, RN, MSN, CCRN (assistant director of nursing and clinical standards at The Johns Hopkins Hospital) and her colleague Kelly Creighton Graham, RN, BS. ""Monitor Alarm Fatigue: Standardizing Use of Physiological Monitoring and Decreasing Nuisance Alarms".

Reproduced below are three tips for decreasing alarm fatigue from their research:

Tip #1 - Use "Smart Alarm" Technology: Using "smart alarm" technology that brings together a number of physiological parameters may recognize and reduce clinically insignificant alarms while accurately reflecting the patient's condition and preserving clinically significant alarm vigilance.

Tip #2 – Reduce Alarm Duplication: Cvach and Graham describe an example "The alarms for high and low heart rate were the same as the bradycardia and tachycardia alarms. Although how the monitor calculates bradycardia varies somewhat from how it calculates heart rate low, and how the monitor calculates tachycardia differs from how it calculates heart rate high, the task force thought that the monitor alarm did not need to sound twice; therefore, the alarms for heart rate high and low were moved to message level and the alarms for bradycardia and tachycardia were increased to warning level."

Tip #3 - Revise Alarm Default Settings: In their research, Cvach and Creighton Graham were able to decrease critical monitor alarms by 43 percent from baseline. As they explain, one of the changes was to "revise the default settings for the unit's monitor alarms, including parameter limits and levels, so that alarms that occurred were actionable and clinically significant."

For the other two lessons learned about alarm fatigue and better alarm management, please visit


The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) is an advocacy group devoted to improving patient health and safety. PPAHS supporters include physicians, patients, individuals, and organizations.

PPAHS recently released a concise checklist that reminds caregivers of the essential steps needed to be taken to initiate Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) with a patient and to continue to assess that patient's use of PCA. For more information and to download the PCA safety checklist, please visit

SOURCE Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety
Copyright©2012 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. Three-in-One X3130 Appliance Inlet Module
2. Mindray Announces Appointment of Three Members to Its Executive Team
3. For Multiple Sclerosis Treatment, Prescriber Base for Genzymes Aubagio Among U.S. Neurologists Has Increased Significantly at Six Months Post-launch, Compared to One and Three Months Post-launch
4. Three New Health Systems Integrate Hyland Softwares OnBase with Meditech Hospital Information System
5. Henry Schein To Present At Three Conferences In May
6. Hologic to Present at Three Upcoming Investor Conferences
7. Cadence Pharmaceuticals To Present At Three Investment Conferences During The Month Of May 2013
8. The Market for Pancreatic Cancer Therapies Will Nearly Double to $1.3 Billion in 2022, Fueled by the Entry of Three Novel Agents
9. Pharmacyclics Announces Date of Financial Results for Three Months Ended March 31, 2013 and Conference Call
10. Sonoma Orthopedic Products (Sonoma) announced the addition of three executives today
11. Alexza Pharmaceuticals Corporate Presentation to Be Webcast at Three Upcoming Investor Conferences
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  Thanks to a donor with a ... Medical Center,s Sister Diane Grassilli Center for Women,s Health ... San Francisco . ... forward with a gift of $617,320 that allowed the ... with Tomosynthesis and Whole Breast Ultrasound. Tomosynthesis, three-dimensional (3-D) ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Array BioPharma Inc. ... Chief Executive Officer, Ron Squarer , will ... in New York.  The public is welcome to ... the Array BioPharma website.Event:Piper Jaffray Annual Healthcare ConferencePresenter:  ... December 2, 2015Time:1:30 p.m. Eastern Time Webcast: ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - ESSA Pharma Inc. ("ESSA" ... announced today that the first patient has been enrolled ... a treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer ("mCRPC"). ... --> the United States ... Phase 1/2 clinical trial, ESSA intends to demonstrate the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Lakeview Health, ... country to celebrate their sobriety and show through pictures what a positive difference ... photos this Thanksgiving with the hashtag #FacesOfGratitude on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... On November 23rd 2015 Cozy Products, ... heating products business. Cozy Products explains what this means for business moving forward. , ... the Cozy Products business model: to sell personal heaters that reduce energy consumption, are ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Livonia, MI (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... at Presence Resurrection Medical Center (RMC) in Chicago, IL, UV Angel is evaluating the ... the medical and surgical intensive care units (totaling 30 beds) from May 2014 through ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... found that regular bras were incredibly uncomfortable," said an inventor from Bronx, N.Y. ... , She developed the patent-pending RECOVERY BRA for added comfort and support. The ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... , ... Since its launch in 2012, the Regenestem brand ... therapies to patients with chronic degenerative medical conditions. Now, the U.S. Patent and ... , Organizations are required to hold a registered trademark in order to make ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):