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Sentinel Event Alert Issue 50: Medical device alarm safety in hospitals

April 8, 2013

Medical Device Alarm Safety InfographicMany medical devices have alarm systems. These alarm-equipped devices are essential to providing safe care to patients in many health care settings; clinicians depend on these devices for information they need to deliver appropriate care and to guide treatment decisions. However, these devices present a multitude of challenges and opportunities for health care organizations when their alarms create similar sounds, when their default settings are not changed, and when there is a failure to respond to their alarm signals.

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Sentinel Event Alert Issue 50: Medical device alarm safety in hospitals, highlights important issues and approaches to improving safety surrounding alarm-equipped medical devices in hospitals. To stimulate further discussion on this important patient safety issue, The Joint Commission held a web conference featuring an ECRI Institute representative and staff from Boston Medical Center who discussed their successful Cardiac Alarm Management Pilot.

The May 1, 2013 webinar on alarm safety


  • Jim Keller, vice president of Health Technology Evaluation and Safety, ECRI Institute
  • From Boston Medical Center:
    • Deborah Whalen, M.S.N., M.B.A., APRN, FAHA , clinical service manager and nurse practitioner for Cardiology
    • Patricia Covelle, B.S.N., M.M., R.N., director of Critical Care Nursing
    • Jim Piepenbrink, BSBME, director of Clinical Engineering
  • Ron Wyatt, M.D., medical director, Division of Healthcare Improvement, The Joint Commission

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