Skip to content

Clinical Alarm Hazards and Management

GCEA / Healthcare Technology Foundation Programs

The GCEA / Healthcare Technology Foundation began an initiative to reduce clinical alarm hazards in 2004. The initial milestone was the completion of a white paper - Impact of Clinical Alarms on Patient Safety. This paper reviewed the literature related to the effective use of clinical alarms and analyzed adverse event databases. Efforts to improve alarms through technological, standards, and regulatory means were also assessed and evaluated. Forums, meetings, and a 2006 survey of 1,327 clinicians, engineers, technical staff, and managers were included in this seminal publication.

In 2011, a second survey on the status of the clinical alarm issue (2011 National Clinical Alarms Survey) resulted in 4278 responders - 93% clinical staff - voicing their perceptions, issues, suggested improvements, and priorities about this highly visible, complex patient safety concern. The overall results and recommendations of the survey were distributed to the attendees at the AAMI Medical Device Alarms Summit where the Healthcare Technology Foundation was a supporting organization.

The 2016 clinical alarms survey assessed the impact of the Joint Commission NPSG and other alarm hazard reduction initiatives. 1241 clinical and support staff responded to the survey. The results with a comparison between the 2006 and 2011 surveys are now available (2016 National Clinical Alarms Survey Results).

The resources below include Healthcare Technology Foundation publications discussed above and otherHealthcare Technology Foundation products along with papers and presentations from our board members, resource websites, and other studies and articles of interest on clinical alarm hazards and management.


Publications and Presentations

Healthcare Technology Foundation Publications

PDF Document  2016 2016 National Clinical Alarms Survey Results

PDF Document  2016 A Guide to Understanding Clinical Alarms - Brochure for Patients and Family

PDF Document  2012 AAMI Clinical Alarm Survey Summary Presentation

HTML Page  2011 Alarms Survey Results

PDF Document  2011 National Clinical Alarms Survey

Board Member Publications

PDF Document  2017 Clinical Alarm Safety and Respiratory Therapists

PDF Document  2016 Alarm Management at the University of Vermont Medical Center: Focus on Education AAMI National Alarms Coalition, Tobey Clark, MS, CCE

HTML Page  2015 Nurses' Perspectives on Clinical Alarms, by Linda Honan, RN, PhD, CNS-BC, Marjorie Funk, RN, PhD, Michaela Maynard, RN, MSN, MPH, Deborah Fahs, RN, DNP, FNP-BC, J. Tobey Clark, MSEE, CCE and Yadin David, EdD, CCE, AJCC, September 2015, Volume 24, No. 5

PDF Document  2015 WC2015 Presentation Marjorie Funk, RN, PhD, Yadin David, Tobey Clark

PDF Document  2015 AAMI Alarms Workshop Presentation Tobey Clark, MS, CCE

PDF Document  2014 Attitudes and Practices Related to Clinical Alarms by Marjorie Funk, RN, PhD, J. Tobey Clark, MSEE, CCE, Thomas J. Bauld, PhD,CCE, Jennifer C. Ott, MSBME, CCE, and Paul Coss, RN, AJCC, May 2014, Volume 23, No. 3

PDF Document  2013 A Work Plan for The Joint Commission Alarm National Patient Safety Goal Journal of Clinical Engineering, Volume 39 & Number 1 & January/March 2014, William A. Hyman, ScD

PDF Document  2012 Responsibilities of Industry and Setting Standards American Heart Association, Nov. 2012, Tobey Clark, MS, CCE

PDF Document  2012 CVS.411 Cardiac Monitoring & Alarm Fatigue - Toward a Possible Solution: Are We Over-monitoring by Marge Funk, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN

PDF Document  2012 Why Clinical Alarms are a "TOP TEN" Hazard by James P. Keller, Jr., M.S.

PDF Document  2012 NPSF Clinical Alarm Fatigue Webcast Slides co-presenter Marjorie Funk, RN, PhD

HTML Page  2012 AAMI: Alarm management survey shows little progress in last six years, Clinical Innovation & Technology, June 2012 (Interview)

PDF Document  2012 National Clinical Alarms Surveys - 5 years Comparison of Issues, Improvements and Priorities, WC2012/IFMBE Proceedings Paper, Yadin David, EdD, CCE, PE, HCSP and Tobey Clark, MS, CCE

PDF Document  2012 Alarm Fatigue, Cuidado, January, William A. Hyman, ScD

PDF Document  2008 Fault Tree Analysis of Clinical Alarms, Journal of Clinical Engineering, April/June, William A. Hyman, ScD

PDF Document  2008 Alarms and Nurse to Patient Ratios, American Journal of Critical Care, March, Denise Korniewicz, RN, PhD, Tobey Clark, MS, CCE

HTML Page  2008 National Online Survey on the Effectiveness of Clinical Alarms, American Journal of Critical Care, January, Effectiveness of Clinical Alarms. Denise Korniewicz, RN, PhD, Tobey Clark, MS, CCE and Yadin David, EdD, CCE, PE, HCSP


HTML Page  AAMI Foundation Healthcare Technology Safety Institute - Clinical Alarms

PDF Document  Development of a Clinical Alarm Policy

PDF Document  VHA Patient Safety Assessment Tool (PSAT)

HTML Page  NTI Action Pak: Strategies for Managing Alarm Fatigue

HTML Page  Joint Commission R3 Report Issue 5 - Alarm System Safety

HTML Page  ECRI Institute Alarm Safety Resource Site

HTML Page  AAMI Hot Topics Alarm Systems

HTML Page  Hospitals Mobilize to Tackle Alarm Fatigue


PDF Document  2007 National Patient Safety Foundation Clinical Alarms Poster

PDF Document  2007 National Patient Safety Foundation Clinical Alarms Poster Abstract

PowerPoint Presentation  2006 Clinical Alarms White Paper PDF

PDF Document  2007 Impact of Clinical Alarms on Patient Safety, Journal of Clinical Engineering, January/March

PDF Document  2006 Impact of Clinical Alarms on Patient Safety

PDF Document  2006 Alarm Call for Action ï¿¿ What You Can Do

HTML Page  2005-2006 Presentations and publications

HTML Page  2004-2007 Task force members

HTML Page  2005 Organizations Contributing to the Survey Design and/or Distribution

HTML Page  2005 Bibliography

HTML Page  2004 Development of the Initiative