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
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: