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

  • National Coalition for Alarm Management Safety
    The Coalition is a group of thought-leaders in the alarm management field who are driving improvement in alarm management nationwide, and seeking standardization where possible.  Members come from all aspects of alarm management—the clinical community, industry, device regulators, hospital accreditors, and professional societies.  Learn more
  • Pioneering Spirit Award
    The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ (AACN) bestowed the GE Healthcare-AACN Pioneering Spirit Award upon the AAMI Foundation for its efforts to advance high acuity and critical care nursing regionally and nationally. Read about this award.
  • VHA Patient Safety Assessment Tool (PSAT)
    The PSAT application is only available to VHA staff that have been granted permission by NCPS. However, non-VHA systems and individual facilities can use the format and questions to create their own survey in any software application. An application that is readily available is Survey Monkey®, which provides useful analysis tools, graphical representations and the ability to combine results from multiple sites. Download a copy of the application.

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

The Foundation's Alarm Best Practices group was created as a subset of AAMI’s Alarm Standards Committee and is now working under the guidance of the 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.

Resources