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ECRI Institute’s Alarm Safety Handbook Helps Hospitals Minimize a Top Threat to Patient Safety

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. — Widespread. Threatening to patients. Difficult to eliminate. Characteristics of a deadly new disease? Not quite. The issue is alarm hazards—the No. 1 danger on ECRI Institute’s 2014 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list.

ECRITo boost hospitals’ efforts to meet the Joint Commission’s 2014 National Patient Safety Goal on clinical alarm safety, ECRI Institute has developed a new publication, The Alarm Safety Handbook: Strategies, Tools, and Guidance. The handbook—available in print and electronic formats—is intended as a go-to resource that hospitals can use to scrutinize and improve their alarm management practices and curtail alarm hazards to prevent patient harm.

“Hospitals now have access to information that they can use to take action to minimize alarm hazards each step of the way,” says James P. Keller, Jr., vice president, health technology evaluation and safety, ECRI Institute. “We hope hospitals look to this as a blueprint for building a sound alarm management safety process.”

The handbook features 76 pages of charts, statistics, guidance, key points and questions, along with a separate workbook of customizable tools. Topics include:

  • Making alarm management a patient safety priority
  • Understanding clinical alarm hazards—a conceptual model
  • Creating an action plan
  • Putting the plan into action
  • Identifying best practices

The tools in the accompanying workbook are designed to help hospitals identify safety vulnerabilities and develop alarm management strategies. Examples include a care area assessment checklist, a nursing staff survey and an alarm review tool.

For many years, ECRI Institute has raised awareness about the patient safety risks from alarm fatigue and other alarm-related hazards, and is widely considered one of the nation’s leading experts on alarm safety. In fact, alarm hazards take the No. 1 spot on its 2014 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list. Additionally, The Joint Commission has cited ECRI Institute in its recommendations. Some of the nation’s leading healthcare organizations have turned to ECRI Institute’s alarm management consulting team for customized assistance on their alarm management processes.

The Alarm Safety Handbook: Strategies, Tools, and Guidance (print or electronic) is $350. Members of ECRI Institute’s Health Devices System, Health Devices Gold, SELECTplus and PSO Plus programs can download the electronic version of the handbook and workbook at no cost. Members of ECRI Institute’s Health Technology Assessment Information Service and Healthcare Risk Control can purchase the electronic and print versions at discounted rates.

To learn more or to purchase the electronic or print publication, visit the website or contact ECRI Institute by telephone at 610-825-6000, ext. 5889.

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Posted August 6, 2014

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