1. United Kingdom
  2. Health Care
  3. Alarm Fatigue
Health Care
Alarm fatigue: a work environment and patient safety issue

Turn your nuisance alarms into major cost-efficiency savings


Turn alarm fatigue into better electrodes management


Click here to download the study

Stop the noise: A quality improvement project to decrease electrocardiographic nuisance alarms

Alarm fatigue is a condition where caregivers become overloaded and desensitised to the constant sound of clinical alarms. The problem of alarm fatigue has become so consequential that the ECRI Institute* has identified alarm fatigue as the number one technology hazard for four years in a row.1-4

From June 2009 through June 2012, The Joint Commission received 98 alarm-related event reports.5 Of those, 80 resulted in deaths of patients, 13 resulted in permanent loss of function, and five resulted in additional care or an extended hospital stay.

* Emergency Care Research Institute

  • Read how one cardiovascular care unit decreased its alarm signals by 88% per day

    Read how one cardiovascular care unit decreased its alarm signals by 88% per day

    A quality improvement process was used that included eliminating duplicate alarms, customising alarms, changing electrocardiography electrodes daily, standardising skin preparation.

It's a matter of using the right product at the right time, with the right training

A survey held at the Association for Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Annual Meeting and an American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition2 found 86% of participants regularly experience unacceptable trace quality (34% “occasionally” and 52% “often”). Every day, millions of biomedical electrodes are wasted due to poor trace quality troubleshooting, removal and replacement because of changing clinical needs, “fall-off”, failure and patient comfort issues.

  • Better training, less waste of resources

    Reducing some of the false clinical alarms may help lower alarm fatigue experienced by your nursing staff. 3M can help troubleshoot problems affecting an ECG trace and support training in correct electrode application, enabling you to reduce false ECG alarms and get the quality trace you're looking for.6,7

  • We know electrodes.
    We know electrodes.

    Let us help you to monitor electrode use across your healthcare facility and support you in standardising and rationalising products to further reduce waste.

    To help improve care pathways, we'll ensure you have the right, high quality 3M™ Red Dot™ Electrodes, at the right time, to meet all your monitoring needs.

3M Biomedical Electrodes Programme

When you partner with 3M you don’t just buy electrodes, you choose years of product knowledge and a complete understanding of the clinical needs you must address. In addition to superior quality electrodes, we will help you to audit and measure your services, and support you with training of clinical staff to ensure the correct electrode use.

Training support

We will provide you with the tools to run and manage your auditing and assist in identifying your individual educational needs with full access to 3M’s eLearning resources and accredited training courses.


1. ECRI Institute. Top 10 health technology hazards for 2012. Health Devices. 2011;40(11):1-17.
2. ECRI Institute. Top 10 health technology hazards for 2013. Health Devices. 2012;41(11):1-24.
3. ECRI Institute. Top 10 health technology hazards for 2014. Health Devices. 2013;42(11):1-15.
4. ECRI Institute. 2015 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards. https://www.ecri.org/Pages/2015-Hazards.aspx. Accessed June 1, 2015
5. Joint Commission. The Joint Commission sentinel event alert: medical device alarm safety in hospitals. http://www.jointcommission.org/sea_issue_50/. Accessed April 27, 2015.
6. Oster, Craig. Improving ECG trace quality. Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology 2000;34(3):219-22
7. UK NHS Trust 29/12/2016 Initial assessment of electrode performance following 3M programme offer