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Augusta University Health Case study

Meeting new clinical safety goals with alarming speed 

Augusta University Health (AU Health) and Philips joint team partners to meet Joint Commission mandates; exceeds goals in clinical alarm safety.


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.

AU Health

Where: Augusta University Health (AU Health), Augusta, GA


What: Reduce non-actionable alarms and improve overall alarm management 


How: Conducted data analysis, identified root cause analysis and recommended staff training changes


Results: A 32% reduction in non-actionable alarms in the first 3 months

The Alliance has been a refreshing approach to planning and implementing projects. With both teams working toward the same goals of quality and patient- and family-centered care, we have been able to streamline our processes.”

— Ruth Wilson

Nurse Manager NICU, Alarm Management Work Group Co-chair, Children’s Hospital of Georgia



AU Health wanted to reduce their non-actionable alarms by 30%, decrease alarm fatigue, and create a holistic approach to alarm management.




Working in partnership with AU Health clinicians, Philips clinical consultants analyzed alarm data and settings, interviewed staff, identified root causes on non-actionable alarms, and made several change and training recommendations. By implementing these changes in several pilot units, they were able to reduce the alarm levels immediately.



AU Health has achieved strong results quickly with a 32% reduction in non-actionable alarms in the first 3 months. To sustain and expand their success, the team is developing a new Clinical Alarm Management Policy that includes education, an implementation plan, monitoring guidance, and ongoing data analytics. Alarm data metrics are included in their monthly Quality Improvement dashboard to monitor results and identify future areas of concern.



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