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BEAMS – Bedside Equipment Alarm Monitoring System

BEAMS monitoring device

BEAMS is an intelligent listening device which monitors alarm sounds from healthcare equipment – such as syringe pumps or pulsed oximeters – and alerts hospital staff when a patient is in need of attention.

The device was developed by Sheffield Children’s in collaboration with Tutum Medical, a local private sector engineering company.

Why BEAMS was developed

With larger wards and more single bed rooms planned for the new wing at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, a demand arose for a bedside equipment monitoring system.

The device improves response times to equipment alarms and helps ensure alarms do not go unheard.

The BEAMS device can improve patient care without increasing staffing levels; it is a great example of managing costs and improving patient safety through innovation.

How it was developed

The idea for BEAMS originally arose as a result of the increased number of single rooms in the new wing at Sheffield Children’s. Matron Susan Ievers came up with the idea to integrate the systems to improve nurses’ ability to respond to alarms.

Prof. Derek Burke, Medical Director at Sheffield Children’s met with Tutum Medical to look at how it may be able to support with the development of the new technology.

Tutum Medical created a proof of concept device and then eight BEAMS devices that were trialled at Sheffield Children’s.

During the trial all nurses surveyed said it was a “benefit to the working of the ward”.

Parents also reported feeling reassured. As one patient’s parent said: “Excellent idea. Saves me pressing the nurse call button when the alarms are going off. It also reassures me that when I am not here the alarms won’t go undetected.”

How BEAMS improves safety

BEAMS connects into the existing nurse call system. Upon detecting an alarm, the device triggers the nurse call system in much the same way as if the patient call button was pressed. This helps staff to respond to equipment alarms more rapidly.

The device is also able to record the duration alarms sound for, allowing wards to measure exactly how long it takes to respond. There has been a measurable reduction in alarm duration in each location BEAMS has been used.

Where the device is used

Following the successful trial, BEAMS was installed in all single bed rooms across the new wing of the hospital.

It has been used in the trial wards for two years, with new models being developed to continually refine and improve the device.

Several other hospitals are now using BEAMS or are looking at installing it in their wards.

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