Hospitals Solving Alarm Fatigue – Weekly Must Reads in Patient Safety (Jan 15, 2016)

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, “At the Hospital, Better Responses to Those Beeping Alarms”, actions that hospitals are taking to help solve alarm fatigue are noted.

Hats off to @JackiOBrien1, @Nada44880470, @pfcryer, @BEastman_Sazan, @aimee_jungman, and many others for their tweets about alarm fatigue.

Here are key examples:

Alarm Delays

University of California San Francisco added “a 20-second delay to the monitor, so an alarm would go off only if the change in oxygen saturation persists for 20 seconds”. The result:

After a month, there was a significant reduction in the number of alarms compared with a similar unit with no delay, and no adverse outcomes after the delay was implemented.

Visual Alerts & Changing Default Parameters

Boston Medical Center “reduced the number of audible alarms in a cardiac unit by 89%, with no adverse events, by converting warning alarms for nonserious changes in heart rate to visual messages sent to nurses and allowing nurses to tailor alarms to individual patients.”

For three tips for decreasing alarm fatigue, please read this Internal Medicine News article

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