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Anatomy of a Smart Alarm:
Intervention Based on Adverse Trends

Despite attempts to reduce alarm signals and alarm fatigue in hospitals, problems still exist in high-acuity areas such as ICU and general care units. This has led to increased research on how to reduce alarm quantities from physiologic monitors and ventilators. While valuable, it’s not enough to simply adjust alarm thresholds or suppress specific alarms typically communicated to clinicians. These methods for reducing alarms only address a symptom of a much larger problem. A better solution is to identify the patients that are at risk for adverse events, thereby identifying patients on whom subsequent downstream alarms are likely.

This may seem like a subtle difference, yet, the approach means a shift in philosophy: proactively identify those patients who are likely trending towards adverse events versus sending a reactive notification of the event’s occurrence. This shift requires detecting, validating, and communicating developments in patient conditions using smart alarms.

During the webinar we will focus on the different types of smart alarms and how they can help to identify patient deterioration. We’ll also discuss “shoulder tap” communication of smart alarms and how they enable timely patient intervention.



  • Discuss the clinical reasons why simply adjusting threshold limits on medical monitoring devices as a mechanism to reduce nuisance alarms is potentially dangerous
  • Describe the differences between smart alarms and single variable alarm signal threshold limits for early detection of patient deterioration
  • Compare the functions, limitations and complexities of machine-issued alarm signals and settings to those of smart alarms
  • Discuss the ways in which real-time, continuous, patient data improves clinical outcomes


Continuing Education:

Continuing Education is available for this webinar until August 14, 2018. You will receive information on how to apply for credits after you watch the webinar.

  • This program has been approved by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) for 1.0 CERPs, Synergy CERP Category A, File Number 21963
  • This program has been approved for 1 CRCE Contact Hour by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).



Presenter: John Zaleski, PhD, CPHIMS

Recording Date: February 14, 2018

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