Use of pagers with an alarm escalation system to reduce cardiac monitor alarm signals

J Nurs Care Qual. 2014 Jan-Mar;29(1):9-18. doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0b013e3182a61887.


Alarm fatigue desensitizes nurses to alarm signals and presents potential for patient harm. This project describes an innovative method of communicating cardiac monitor alarms to pagers using an alarm escalation algorithm. This innovation was tested on 2 surgical progressive care units over a 6-month period. There was a significant decrease in mean frequency and duration of high-priority monitor alarms and improvement in nurses' perception of alarm response time, using this method of alarm communication.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnosis*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology
  • Attention
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Auditory Fatigue*
  • Clinical Alarms*
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / nursing*
  • Patient Safety
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires