Clinical Alarms: Managing the Overload
Clinical alarms are intended to improve patient care. They can improve care by arming clinicians with valuable information about a patient’s physiological state, tip off the signs of a patient’s deterioration, and route information to the person most able to help the patient.
However, too many nonactionable alarms can result in a sensory clutter that overwhelms clinicians and patients—a condition called “alarm fatigue.” In its annual ranking of healthcare technology hazards, ECRI Institute has consistently listed alarm management near the top.
This issue of Horizons explores several approaches to minimizing nonactionable alarms and improving clinical alarm management, including the design and use of secondary alarm notification systems, examining how alarms are classified, initiating cultural change, and looking for lessons from outside the healthcare technology industry.
View the Table of Contents.
AAMI thanks the following organizations for their support in promoting this edition of Horizons.
- American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)
- American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
- American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE)
- Healthcare Technology Foundation (HTF)
- National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS)
- National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF)
This issue includes substantial contributions from the AAMI’s Foundation National Coalition for Alarm Management Safety.
The contents of Horizons are available to AAMI members. To read the articles online, click the Access Online Issues link below.
The following links take you to unlocked articles from the most recent issue of Horizons:
- Use of Monitor Watchers in Hospitals: Characteristics, Training, and Practices BI&T Nov/Dec 2016
- AAMI Podcast, Episode 17: Clinical Alarm Management 2016
- Clinical Alarm Management Compendium 2015
- A Siren Call to Action: Priority Issues from the Medical Device Alarms Summit 2011
- AAMI TIR66:2017, Guidance for the creation of physiologic data and waveform databases to demonstrate reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of alarm system algorithms
- ANSI/AAMI/IEC 60601-1-8+Amd 1, Medical electrical equipment—Part 1-8: General requirements for basic safety and essential performance—Collateral Standard: General requirements, tests and guidance for alarm systems in medical electrical equipment and medical electrical systems.
- AAMI/IEC TIR80001-2-5, Application of risk management for IT-networks incorporating medical devices—Part 2-5: Guidance on distributed alarm systems