Saturday, August 22, 2009

Alarm Overload

If your hospital is considering using the wireless device to receive clinical alarms direct to caregivers to “make them more efficient” consider this:

  • Automating the Nurse Call System on average can send 5 alarms (not considering escalation which could double this potential) per patient
  • Automating the Telemetry on average can send 15+ alarms per patient
  • Automating the Vents and Pumps without Data (ie through a contact closure – not the full information available) can provide 2 alarms per patient
  • Automating the Bed Exit Alarm is a single alarm per patient

Automating the additional Bed Alarms can send up to 28 alerts per patientThis does not include things like Bed Management, Lab Results, Orders, Automated Process Stations, etc. The question is balance. If you were to automate all of these alarms you could be sending over 51 alarms to your caregivers per patient. In a 1:4 Ratio situation that’s over 200 alarms! Planning and preparing for these are crucial. Categorizing alarms and keeping response procedures simple can improve the process of automation. At Sphere3 we specialize in evaluating the current situation and providing best practices solutions. Understanding the information that is being processed, the systems that are sending the data, and the caregivers workflow is our specialty. Many providers will encourage automation as a decision point for their product, but understanding the full scope of the integration is the key.

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Thanks for Posting on Clinical Transformation!

Kourtney Govro