Alarm Overload and the “App Belt”
While alarm-related patient safety issues have been in the spotlight for the past few years, the scope of the “alarms issue” goes beyond medical device alarms. There are a number of sources that lead to excessive noise and unnecessary clinical interruptions including overhead pages, phone calls, text messages, and other clinical systems that send event notifications – like nurse call alerts. Until ALL alarms, alerts, and notifications are managed holistically by utilizing the Extension Engage event-driven care team and communication platform, nurses will be inundated and overwhelmed by needless distractions and patient safety will be impacted.
A Shared Concern for Alarm-Related Patient Safety Risks
- ECRI Institute consistently lists alarm hazards at or near the top of its annual Top 10 Health Technology Hazards report as well as its Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for Healthcare Organizations.
- In 2013, The Joint Commission issued a new National Patient Safety Goal aimed at improving clinical alarm safety.
- The AAMI Foundation organized The National Coalition for Alarm Management Safety to bring together stakeholders for the purposes of knowledge-sharing and information distribution.
The “App Belt”
When alarms and alerts are managed by different systems – each sending its own notifications to caregiver’s wireless phones without consideration of other system-generated or human-generated messages – nurses are forced to manually sort through messages and perform their own prioritization. The result is delayed care and increased patient safety risks. Further chaos ensues when nurses carry multiple communication devices often capable of running one or more apps to receive patient event notifications and texts. Ever heard of the “app belt”? Using this uncoordinated approach is a sure-fire way to create dissatisfaction among caregivers. Avoid this situation by using the Engage unified platform to manage alarms, alerts, and texts.