In the News

Respiratory Therapists Weigh In on Clinical Alarms

Bookmark and Share

October 20, 2011

AARC members responded in large numbers to a survey conducted on alarms by the Healthcare Technology Foundation (HTF).

AARC was approached to participate several months ago by the HTF. They were following up on a survey conducted in 2006 to determine changes in the perception of clinical alarm issues, improvements made at facilities, and priorities for future action. They approached the AARC to include the perceptions of respiratory therapists in the survey.

In the final results, it was noted that respiratory therapists responded in larger numbers than any other group asked to participate.

The survey found that less than 20% of the respondents reported that their health care facility has instituted technological solutions to improve clinical alarm safety. Only one in five said that their facility had developed alarm improvement initiatives over the past two years.

The survey had 4278 responses and respiratory therapists comprised nearly half of all respondents.

“Alarm management is very important to respiratory therapists, which explains the high response rate,” said Tom Kallstrom, chief operating officer of AARC.

“The most common alarm devices that respiratory therapists encounter on a daily basis are on mechanical ventilators and monitoring devices,” he said. “It is imperative that when a device sounds it is responded to. Thus, the need for a differentiation of alarm is essential both in display and sound.”

The full survey is now available. It was sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, the American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE), and Philips Healthcare.