The management of monitoring alarms has been getting increased attention from clinical and patient advocacy groups alike — and for good reason. Research has confirmed the negative impact of noise on patient satisfaction and care. “Alarm fatigue” from alarms that don’t require action can dangerously distract and desensitize clinicians to the ones that do. Moreover, alarms have been estimated to cost health systems $1 to $6 — and one to six minutes — per alarm in valuable nursing time and attention.
In June 2013, The Joint Commission approved a new National Patient Safety Goal on clinical alarm safety for hospitals. In response, the AU Health leadership team chartered a multidisciplinary Clinical Alarm Management work group that collaborated with Philips senior consultants and alarm management experts as part of the AU Health-Philips Alliance to create a strategy and implementation plan.
Their comprehensive approach achieved strong results quickly, with a 32% reduction in non-actionable alarms in the first three months and has been the topic of interest at several academic conferences.