Clinical Alarms

Medical device alarms provide essential warnings to alert caregivers of changes in a patient's condition. When alarms work well, the environment of care is enhanced. When alarms don't work well, they pull caregivers away from other duties and other patients — or worse, train caregivers to ignore the alarm sounds altogether. Alarms that are ignored can and have resulted in patient deaths.

Experts agree that resolving problems with medical device alarms requires an interdisciplinary effort and buy-in from a wide array of players at the highest levels.

What's New

Taming the Alarm Problem

In this one-page summary, Lane Desborough (a product strategist with Medtronic Diabetes) offers an analysis of the alarms problems as it has affected other industries, and a list of references on how "other domains have learned to tame their alarm problems." Click here to view the summary.

Steering Committee

Alarm Best Practices Group

HTSI’s Alarm Best Practices workgroup was created as a subset of AAMI’s Alarm Standards Committee and is now working under the guidance of HTSI’s Alarm Steering Committee.  The workgroup’s primary focus is to review and recommend best practices for alarm management. The group has developed a literature review framework to evaluate journal articles and case studies written about specific efforts in healthcare technology alarm management in order to provide guidance to the field. The Alarm Best Practices workgroup’s vision is to collaborate with other organizations in order to identify areas for potential research and to share best practice strategies to reduce alarm fatigue, increase patient safety and encourage the delivery of high quality healthcare.