Innovation That Can’t Be Ignored: Super Alarm Combats Alarm Fatigue

A recent UCSF study found that there were 187 audible alarms per bed per day in the ICU, with a false-positive rate of over 88 percent for arrhythmia alarms. Put that in the context of all the other noise in a busy ICU and you begin to understand the concept of alarm fatigue. It’s no surprise that in many settings, clinicians ignore alarms, turn them down or turn them off, leading to a nationwide epidemic that goes beyond the ICU to other hospital units.

SOM Tech worked with UCSF clinicians and researchers to develop Super Alarm, a device that aggregates disparate data, captures trending patterns and filters out false alarms, so clinicians are only alerted when there is a situation that truly demands clinical attention.

The team has already shown they can achieve 90 percent sensitivity in predicting ICU cases where a patient is in need of resuscitation – known in hospitals as code blue – and is on track to complete a prospective National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded clinical study by the end of 2017.

As advisors to the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Digital Health program, SOM Tech worked with biomedical engineer Xiao Hu and his team to create an identity and pitch that helped their ideas get off the drawing board and into the ICU. SOM Tech helped shape their story, crystalize their value propositions, and create the Super Alarm patient website and identity, which contributed to the team’s successful Catalyst Award win. 

My work on this project: graphic design of web site and identity