Blessing Hospital Reduces Alarm Fatigue By Analyzing Clinical Communications

Blessing Hospital, a 307-bed acute care hospital in Quincy IL, used a new analytics tool from their communications partner, Voalte, to reduce alarm fatigue and improve clinical operations.

For several years, Blessing has been using Voalte’s communication platform for secure messaging between clinicians at their facility.

“It provides an easy way for staff to connect with each other,” said Jacob Campbell, Systems/Application Analyst at Blessing Hospital. “If a nurse needs to get a hold of a physician, it’s right at their fingertips on the smartphone that we provide them at their hospital.”

Loaded on that smartphone is the Voalte communication app which allows staff to instantly contact peers at a push of a button. Through the app, nurses and physicians do not need to remember complex staff schedules or names of peers. They simply press the button for “Attending” and the system automatically contacts the person who is currently filling that role.

The Voalte communication platform also serves as Blessing’s alarm back bone, sending messages to staff when certain alarm conditions are met.

“One of the areas we struggled with was figuring out how many alarms people were getting,” explained Campbell. “Alarm fatigue is a very real thing. Everyone independently believes an alarm message should be sent, but that can result in tons and tons of messages going to an end-user.”

Unfortunately, there was not a systematic way for Blessing’s IT team to determine which staff members were being overwhelmed with alarms. They would perform manual audits of the alarms when they received a complaint or comment.

That all changed with the roll out of the new analytics tool – Voalte Insight.

“Voalte Insight has been very helpful in helping us manage our alarms,” stated Campbell.

Through Voalte Insight, Jacob and the team at Blessing are now able to clearly (and easily) see how many alarms are going through the system. This allows them to quickly determine which staff members are receiving too may alerts and from there, reprioritize or redirect the excess alarms.

Campbell had this advice for anyone looking at reducing alarm fatigue at their organization: “Be aware of the number of alarms that you are generating. Then take a hard look at the alarms you are sending through your system and determine which are truly necessary and which are just informational.”

You can watch a portion of the conversation with Campbell in the video below.

About the author

Colin Hung

Colin Hung

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.