AAMI honors Texas Children’s Hospital alarm management team

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) has bestowed the AAMI Foundation & Institute for Technology in Health Care’s Clinical Solution Award on Texas Children’s Hospital alarm management team, which combined stakeholders from across the institution in partnership with an innovative healthcare analytics company, Medical Informatics Corp. AAMI is an organization that represents a diverse community of nearly 7,000 professionals who support the development, management, and use of safe and effective health care technology.

In 2013, a multidisciplinary team at the hospital sought a solution to a common problem in health care facilities: alarm fatigue. This problem occurs in patient care areas where it is common for false alarms to occur causing nurses to become desensitized to the sounds. Medical Informatics Corp’s solution focused on analyzing unit-level alarm data on a dashboard which led to a dramatic drop off in alarms, while changing the conversation about how to handle alarms between stakeholder groups.

“Appropriate alarm management has the potential to increase patient safety, promote family and clinician satisfaction, and produce efficiencies,” said Jennifer Sanders, director of clinical informatics at Texas Children’s. “The alarm management team at Texas Children’s works diligently to lessen the stress associated with alarms and to decrease the risk of nurses becoming desensitized to alarms.”

The team has used real-time data to drive decisions and change conversations related to alarms to pave the way for quality improvement in the area.

Samantha Jacques, director of biomedical engineering, said the team adopted a patient-centered approach.

“It allows for customized alarms to be set at the patient level,” Jacques said. “The patient-specific decisions on alarm limits allows for care to be personalized allowing for alarms to be more actionable.”

AAMI President Mary Logan praised the organization for developing this solution.

“We are so proud and delighted to honor Texas Children’s Hospital and Medical Informatics Corp.,” Logan said. “Their dedication to health care technology is inspiring. Because of the contributions of our honorees, clinicians and other caregivers have better tools and resources to help patients. In the end, their efforts help to improve patient outcomes.”