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The Threat of Alarm Fatigue on Patient Safety

“The failure to recognize and respond to actionable clinical alarms … in a timely manner” was the second highest ranked patient safety risk identified in the ECRI Institute’s Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2016. In a 2013 survey, 9 of 10 hospitals indicated that they would increase their use of patient monitoring, particularly of capnography and pulse oximetry, if false alarms could be reduced. The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals on clinical alarm safety has mandated that hospitals must identify and prioritize alarms based on internal considerations by January 1, 2016.

In Phase 2, which also began in January, “hospitals will be expected to develop and implement specific components of policies and procedures. Education of those in the organization about alarm system management will also be required.” Missed alarms resulting from poor communication or alarm fatigue continue to pose clear and present threats to patient safety.


  • Review the current state of alarms and impact of alarm fatigue on your practice
  • Discuss the impact of alarm fatigue on patient safety and quality, including the many causes of nuisance and false-positives
  • Examine the best practices evidence-based implementation strategies for improving patient safety
  • Explore the opportunities to manager and reduce alarms in your environment

Presenter: Jeanne Venella
Chief Nursing Officer at Bernoulli

Presenter: Connie Dills
Respiratory Practice Manager at Hospital for Special Care

Recording Date: September 21, 2016

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