AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Alarm Fatigue in Hospital Settings
The latest issue of AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchangefeatures profiles about two programs that minimized alarm fatigue in hospitals by changing alarm systems to reduce audible alarms and rescue events. One of the featured profiles describes a hospital cardiac unit that reduced clinically insignificant alarms and made it easier for nurses to respond to alarms signaling genuine problems. Key actions included elevating heart rate alarms previously identified as "warning" alarms that do not require a nurse response to "crisis" alarms that do require a response, adding an audible alarm for atrial fibrillation episodes to the existing visual alarm, and allowing two nurses to collaborate to change alarm parameters for individual patients (with a physician's approval). The initiative reduced audible alarms by 89 percent and significantly increased satisfaction among both nurses and patients.