- A new national survey has concluded that 19 out of 20 hospitals rank alarm fatigue as the top patient safety concern.
- The problem of alarm fatigue has become so pervasive and dangerous that last month the Joint Commission named it as a National Patient Safety Goal, which requires accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals to improve their performance in this area.
- To reduce alarm fatigue, hospitals need to develop a systemic approach considering a wide range of concerns, including staffing patterns, patient populations and architectural layouts.
With thousands of alarms going off in a given hospital unit each and every day, it's little wonder that doctors find themselves overwhelmed. It's more than time to take this problem head-on and reduce the noise pollution in hospitals, allowing professionals to focus. This is a difficult problem to solve -- it's been under discussion for years yet little has happened to improve the situation -- but the Joint Commission is at long last bringing down the boom. Let's hope that the Joint Commission's new requirement jumpstarts a new, more effective war against alarm fatigue.