Alarm Safety in Hospitals

Learn how to meet the Joint Commission's new NPSG related to alarm safety!  

See how Johns Hopkins tackled one of ECRI's top health technology hazards!

Click here to view the trailer!

The Johns Hopkins Hospital implemented several major initiatives to reduce hazardous situations related to alarm systems.  By relying on data to determine baseline alarm priority levels and then evaluating the effectiveness of improvement efforts, the alarm improvement effort greatly reduced noise in monitored units, made clinicians more attentive to the alarm signals that do sound, and worked to optimize both technology and workflow at every step in the process.

Since the alarm improvement efforts began in 2006, The Johns Hopkins Hospital has seen:
  • 43% reduction in high priority alarm conditions
  • Up to 74% reduction of alarm conditions
  • 47% percent reduction in total alarm conditions units performing daily electrode change
ECRI Institute named The Johns Hopkins Hospital winner of the 2012 Health Devices Achievement Award.

Course details

Target audience

Nursing leaders, executive leadership, risk managers, administrators, and legal counsel who want to make alarm safety a priority in their hospitals.

If you wish to schedule a consultation (phone or in person) with Dr. Cvach or set up a site visit at Johns Hopkins, please contact us about our services and fees.

(Johns Hopkins Health System staff make take this course free of charge.  To access the coupon you need to register, go to the JHH Nursing Intranet. If you are with the JHHS and aren't able to access the intranet, email us.)

Learning objectives

  1. Describe the underlying causes of alarm desensitization.
  2. Discuss The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goal on alarm management.
  3. State five proactive approaches that hospitals can take to improve alarm safety.
  4. Describe the Johns Hopkins Hospital alarm management initiative.
  5. Distinguish between primary and ancillary alarm notification.
  6. Identify ancillary technology solutions to enhance alarm notifications.

Faculty & credentials

Maria Cvach, RN, DNP, CCRN
Assistant Director of Nursing
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Maria Cvach is a practicing cardiac and critical care nurse who currently serves as assistant director of nursing at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. At Johns Hopkins, Ms. Cvach manages clinical standards and evidence-based practice nursing, and also serves as co-chair of the hospital’s Alarm Management Committee.
Maria has presented on the topic of alarm fatigue at the National Alarm Summit and the International Society for Computerized Electrocardiology, among many others.  She was recently featured in an article in the Washington Post.
Her publications on this topic include:
  • Cvach, M., Frank, R., Doyle., Stevens, Z. (2013). Use of pagers with an alarm escalation system to reduce cardiac monitor alarm signals. Journal of Nursing Care Quality 29(1); 9-18.
  • Cvach, M.,  Biggs, M., Rothwell, K., Charles-Hudson, C. (2013). Daily electrode change and effect on cardiac monitor alarms: an evidence-based practice approach. Journal of Nursing Care Quality 28(3); 265-71.
  • Cvach, M. Alarm Fatigue: Integrative Review. BI&T Journal.  July/August 2012; p.268-277.
  • Cvach, M., & Lee, M.C. (2010). Selecting the Pathway to Translation. In S.Poe & K. White (Eds), Johns Hopkins nursing evidence based practice: Implementation and Translation. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International.
  • Creighton, K., Cvach, M. (2010). Monitor alarm fatigue: standardizing progressive care nurse’s utilization of physiologic monitors and decreasing nuisance alarms. American Journal of Critical Care Nursing, 19(1),28-35.
Contact email: 
Please log in or register to take this Course.