Reducing Alarm Hazards: Selection and Implementation of Alarm Notification Systems
MedSun: Newsletter #62, July 2011

Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare

Few threats to patient safety have existed for as long or been as thoroughly studied as alarm fatigue (Healthcare Technology Foundation). In December 2010, ECRI Institute listed "Alarm Hazards" as the second highest technology hazard of 2011. Alarm hazards include inappropriate alarm modification, alarm desensitization or alarm fatigue, non-restoration of alarm settings to the normal or standard value after being modified for a specific situation, and improper relaying of alarm signals to appropriate personnel (ECRI Institute, 2010). Additionally, with the evolution of stand-alone devices to proprietary end-to-end systems, there is a proliferation of overlapping and duplicate systems. This ends up in clinicians sometimes carrying a “bandolier” of communication devices. Most alarms and other messaging are simply broadcast throughout the unit via distributed speakers and message panels.

Additional Information:

Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare. Reducing Alarm Hazards: Selection and Implementation of Alarm Notification Systems. March/April 2011.
http://www.psqh.com/marchapril-2011/799-reducing-alarm-hazards.html


MedSun Newsletters are available at www.fda.gov/cdrh/medsun