Are You Ready for the 2014 National Patient Safety Goal on Alarm Management?
Clinical alarm systems are intended to alert caregivers of potential patient problems, but if they are not properly managed, they can compromise patient safety. This is a multifaceted problem. In some situations, individual alarm signals are difficult to detect. At the same time, many patient care areas have numerous alarm signals and the resulting noise and displayed information tends to desensitize staff and cause them to miss or ignore alarm signals or even disable them. Other issues associated with effective clinical alarm system management include too many devices with alarms, default settings that are not at an actionable level, and alarm limits that are too narrow. These issues vary greatly among hospitals and even within different units of a single hospital.
The Joint Commission has been following these concerns and in June 2013, designated clinical alarm safety as a National Patient Safety Goal. Many hospitals are currently developing their implementation plan, so we have added a checklist developed by Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) to assist in that planning.
☐ Dates for compliance with The Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal on Alarm Management:
As of July 1, 2014, leaders establish alarm system safety as a hospital priority.
During 2014, identify the most important alarm signals to manage.
As of January 1, 2016, establish policies and procedures for managing the alarms identified above and educate staff and licensed independent practitioners about the purpose and proper operation of alarm systems for which they are responsible.
☐ Link to National Patient Safety Goal on Alarm Management: