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Reducing Alarm Fatigue

Alarm fatigue occurs when staff is overwhelmed by large numbers of alarms. Too many alarm signals result in alarm desensitization which can lead to missed or delayed alarm response10. Common injuries/deaths related to alarms include those from: Falls, Delays in Treatment, Ventilator Use and Medication Errors11.

 

This is the problem as defined by The Joint Commission in their Sentinel Event Alert:

 

“The Number of Alarm signals per patient day can reach several hundred depending on the units within the hospital, translating to thousands of alarm signals on every unit and tens of thousands of alarm signals throughout the hospital every day. It is estimated that between 85-99% of alarm signals do not require clinical intervention.

 

Many products which are used in the non-acute areas of the hospital environment to monitor deterioration were originally designed for use in the ICU, Operating Rooms, or Post Anesthesia Care environment. These environments have clinician to patient ratios that are typically 4 patients to 1 Caregiver, however in the non-acute care environments, this ratio may increase to 6, or even 10 patients to 1 caregiver. This places technology into an environment where an added burden of increased, or false alarms due to lead problems can be burdensome for the staff, and cause further safety concerns for caregivers. Therefore, alarm fatigue in hospitals and rehabilitation centers is a pressing concern.

 

With the EarlySense system, the alarm frequency in a typical 8 hour shift can be only 2-3 alarms. In comparison, devices that have been designed and intended for  acute care environments can reach hundreds of alarms per shift12:

EarlySense monitoring technology reduces alarm fatigue in hospitals and rehabilitation centers

 

 

Alarm Management by Dr. Eyal Zimlichman

 

 

Monitoring Technology Alarms per 100 hours of monitoring False alarms per 100 hours of monitoring Alarms per nurse per shift False alarms per nurse per shift
EarlySense13 2.8 1.2 1.7 0.7
Telemetry14 151.8 82.0 91.1 49.2
Oximetry15 200.0 118.0 120.0 72.0

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EarlySense is involved in AAMI Foundation’s Healthcare Technology Safety Institute in An Effort to Improve Patient Safety

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Since June 2014 EarlySense is actively involved in the National Coalition for Alarm Management Safety, an effort launched by the AAMI Foundation’s Healthcare Technology Safety Institute (HTSI). Aiming to increase awareness on how to improve alarm management and hopefully drive improved patient safety by decreasing alarm fatigue.

 

 

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10  The Joint Commission Guidelines

11 The Joint Commission Guidelines

12 Görges et al., 2009; Siebig et al., 2010

13 Zimlichman et al. “Evaluation of EverOn as a Tool to Detect Deteriorations”

14 LifeSync: “LifeSync Wireless ECG System… Increases ECG Alarm Accuracy”

15 Malviya, S. et al., A & A June 2000 vol. 90 no. 6 1336-1340: