Clinical Services

A proven safety risk
Alarm fatigue

More than just a nuisance

The proliferation of alarms generated by monitoring systems is a growing concern for anyone committed to patient safety. Exposure to excess alarms in care settings, especially non-actionable alarms, can result in desensitization among the clinicians that they are intended to alert, a syndrome called alarm fatigue.

Alarm fatigue can lead to reflexive silencing of alarms, breaking monitoring protocols and missing true positive alarms—placing a burden on caregivers and jeopardizing their ability to care for patients.
When an alarm goes off you want to make sure it is clinically relevant.”

Ineke van de Pol

ICU nurse practitioner, St. Antonius Hospital, The Netherlands

An insider’s view of
alarm overload

For short-staffed nurses, false alarms are more than annoyances. Most nurses say they are affected by alarm fatigue, 1 which can cause stress, depression, reduced productivity and burnout. This video attempts to illustrate what it’s like to care for a patient in today’s alarm-filled environment.
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A quick survey

Taking alarm management from concept to reality


Discover where you stand when it comes to alarm mangement. We invite you to participate in this survey taking alarm managemnt from concept to reality. *


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Excessive false alerts
impact a hospital on many levels

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Missing actionable alarms jeopardizes patient safety.
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Patient harm as a result of over-alarming can have costly repercussions from transfers to the ICU, extended length of stay and litigation.
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The lack of alarm customization for individual patients can create excessive nuisance alarms.
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About 10% of nursing time is lost responding to non-actionable alarms.
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A stressful, noise-filled work environment can contribute to staff burnout.

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Non-compliance can be costly, as health care moves from volume to value-based care models.

5 key facts about alarm fatigue

When you consider that patients, staff and families may be exposed to up to 700 alarms a day, 2 it’s no surprise that alarm fatigue is a serious problem. Yet few hospitals have comprehensive programs to manage “alarm pollution” and there is no clear evidence-based practice because no two patients or units are exactly the same. Understanding the scope of the problem is an important first step. Start by educating yourself and your colleagues with these facts from recent research.

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Alarm management 101

Alarms are a good thing… aren’t they? Raise your team’s awareness about alarm fatigue with this module from a Philips alarm management consultant.

This downloadable and video drills down into the root causes and impact of the problem and shares research on how it is currently perceived.
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Register to access the free online module.


Become the alarm advocate in your unit. Now!


Tell us a little about yourself and receive 3 emails with material that can help you raise awareness about alarm management at your hospital.

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Alarm management:
become the expert

Philips is
here to help

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The price for patients

Find out why you should protect your patients

What drives alarm fatigue?

Discover new facts and approaches for making effective change

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[1] Juniper Consulting. Junicon Web Survey, 2012.

[2] Cvach, M., "Monitor Alarm Fatigue: An Integrative Review", Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology, July/August 2012, pp. 268-277.