Top 5 Strategies for Reducing Alarm Fatigue in Hospitals

Top 5 Strategies for Reducing Alarm Fatigue in Hospitals

The relentless symphony of alarms in a healthcare setting can be overwhelming. Clinicians are bombarded by an average of more than 100 alarms per bed daily, and research suggests that 80-99% of these alarms are falsely activated due to human, technical, and organizational errors. This presents a critical challenge: alarm fatigue. This desensitization to constant alerts can lead to missed critical warnings and, ultimately, compromised patient safety. 

The Joint Commission reinforces the seriousness of this issue, reporting that 85-99% of alarms don’t require immediate intervention. The Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) consistently ranks alarm hazards among the top ten health technology threats, while the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) paints a vivid picture, with nurses encountering as many as 1,000 alarms per shift

 

Discover how to rescue caregivers from alarm fatigue

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The Detrimental Effects of Alarm Fatigue 

The constant barrage of alarms has a profound impact on patient care. Here’s how alarm fatigue can be detrimental: 

  • Missed critical events: Clinicians overwhelmed by non-actionable alarms may become desensitized, potentially missing urgent alerts that require immediate attention. 
  • Delayed response times: The sheer volume of alarms can lead to delayed responses, even critical alerts, negatively impacting patient outcomes. 
  • Increased clinician burnout: The constant stress of managing incessant, disruptive alarms contributes to clinician burnout and staff turnover. 
  • Deteriorated patient satisfaction: Unnecessary alarm interruption noise and delays can disrupt patient experience and satisfaction. 

Fortunately, there’s a path forward. TigerConnect Alarm Management & Event Notification offers a comprehensive solution to combat alarm fatigue by facilitating automatic routing and escalating of alerts and alarms according to clinical objectives, clinical practice, and policies.  

Strategies for Streamlining Alarm Management 

TigerConnect Alarm Management & Event Notification syncs staff assignments with software where staff is already assigned, such as nurse call systems or the EHR, to acquire data and deliver context-rich alerts to your caregivers and allied health teams. TigerConnect ensures the same standard of care across care areas by ensuring the same push notifications and expected response times are the same, regardless of staff tenure or complexity of the unit. Additionally, it promotes accountability for each pushed notification with reporting so sites can continuously improve. 

Here are five ways the TigerConnect Alarm Management & Event Notification solution empowers healthcare organizations: 

  1. Routes to the right caregiver: The system intelligently routes alerts to the most appropriate caregiver based on their role, location, and expertise. 
  2. Automated escalation paths: TigerConnect automatically routes and escalates alerts/alarms according to your clinical objectives, clinical practice, and policy. 
  3. Provides delivery notifications: Context-rich notifications provide vital patient data alongside alerts, allowing caregivers to prioritize critical interventions and confirm that an alert has been delivered and acknowledged. 
  4. Reduce overhead noise: Outdated paging systems create a stressful environment for patients and care teams alike. Secure texting eliminates overhead noise caused by alarms and traditional paging systems. 
  5. Improves collaboration with patient context: Seamless integration with existing communication platforms facilitates efficient care team collaboration for timely and coordinated responses. TigerConnect notifications are context-rich and include patient demographics and relevant clinical data. They expedite decision-making by attaching patient references and clinical data to conversations.  

A Real-World Example: Yale New Haven Achieves Remarkable Results 

Yale New Haven Hospital, a five-hospital system with more than 2,600 beds, was facing an overwhelming number of false alarms from monitoring equipment. These alarms overloaded care teams, leading to delayed responses and risking patient care. The hospital addressed this challenge by implementing TigerConnect Alarm Management & Event Notification. As a result, it reduced bedside alarms by 60% through data-driven adjustments to alarm thresholds and staff education on best practices. This resulted in a quieter work environment for caregivers, improved focus on critical situations, and improved patient outcomes. 

For a quick and informative overview of the strategies discussed in this blog, download our “5 Ways to Combat Alarm Fatigue” infographic. Let’s work together to create a healthcare environment where hospital staff can focus on what matters most: delivering exceptional patient care. 

Tim Beglin has been involved with nursing informatics for over 14 years, dedicated to improve clinical workflows for nurses, providers, and other healthcare professionals. He has been an Epic builder, Epic clinical site lead, IT Relationship Manager and has led a team of other nursing informaticists. Tim has abundant experience navigating the complexities of clinical organizations and healthcare technology in order to achieve sustainable process improvement.

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