Analyzing the state of alarm system safety in a medical setting is complex, in part due to difficulties of assessing alarm fatigue within the context of the clinical setting.

New data suggests implications to help researchers respond to the gap in science related to alarm safety, help vendors design safe monitoring systems, and help clinical and medical leaders apply evidence-based strategies to improve alarm safety in their settings. 

Ten years ago, researchers and alarm system experts convened by AAMI and several U.S. regulatory bodies revealed that nurses in intensive care units are exposed to as many as 350 alarms per bed per day. An estimated 85% to 99% of these daily alarms require no action.

A consequence of this constant exposure to inactionable warnings is a phenomenon called alarm fatigue, whereby—similar to a village’s reaction to a lad crying “wolf” one too many times—nurses become increasingly nonreactive to alarms. Consequently, they may miss alarms indicating imminent patient injury or death. That’s why, as of 2014, The Joint Commission has required hospitals to establish alarms as an organizational priority and develop new alarm management and training strategies.

Read the full article at MedTech Intelligence.