PCD Profile Alarm Communication Management Overview

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Alert Communication Management (ACM) allows a patient care device to send a notification of an alert to a portable device such as a smart phone.


The Alert Communication Management profile defines an HL7 V2 message for communicating detailed information about an alert (alarm - physiological or technical, or advisory) from a patient care device to an information system which then causes a message to be transmitted to a portable device. If the device is able to provide an acknowledgment, the alert managing system or alert originating system can be notified that the message was received, and (depending on the capabilities of the device) acted on.


  • Provides a secondary means for notifying the appropriate person of a condition needing timely human intervention.
  • Automates otherwise manually initiated workflow notification for greater speed, improved content consistency, better record keeping.
  • Improves workflow notification efficiency by notifying the right person at the right time on the right device. Automates who to notify, on what device, how to do it. Telephony dial back for consultation and read back
  • May allow a clinician in a large or noisy unit to more quickly and accurately identify the source, nature, and action needed for an alert.
  • Provides an escalation mechanism designed to eliminate notification "black holes". Offers work task accept/escalate using two-way devices. Reduces “left a message”, “call back later” issues.


This profile extends the Device Enterprise Communication profile of the IHE Patient Care Devices domain to further specify the communication of alert data describing states and events significant to patient care from patient care devices to alert manager systems (systems which route alert to end devices for notification of caregivers, or to other systems that record patient care information).

These alerts may be physiological alarms, that is, representing the physiological state of the patient (such as a heart rate above or below a caregiver-specified safe range for the patient), or technical alarms, reflecting conditions in the patient care devices themselves that may require action from caregivers (such as ECG leads off the patient), or advisories not associasted with an alarm.

The intent of this profile is to give a uniform way of representing such common alert conditions in HL7 messages to facilitate interoperability of systems from different vendors.

  • Defines the interfaces needed to mediate between a patient care device and a system communicating with a smart phone or other portable device.

Systems Affected

Patient care devices and intermediary (device concentrator) systems

Portable personnel notification systems (pagers, smart phones, and the like)

Actors & Transactions:


Alert Reporter – The Alert Reporter (AR) actor sources the alert (alert - physiological or technical, or advisory) to Alert Manager (AM).

Alert Manager – The Alert Manager (AM) actor receives the alert from the Alert Reporter (AR), potentially analyzes the alert, and dispatches the alert to the Alert Communicator (AC).

Alert Communicator – The Alert Communicator (AC) actor receives the alert from the Alert Manager (AM) and sends the alert to the client application in the endpoint device.


Profile Status: Final Text


ACM Documents Page

Underlying Standards:

See Also

Related Profiles

Reference Articles

Medical device interoperability and the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) initiative JG Rhoads, T Cooper, F Fuchs, P Schluter… - AAMI IT Horiz, 2010, Pp. 22-27 - PDF

An open source toolkit for managing patient monitoring device alarms based on the IHE Alarm Communication Management profile. MJB van Ettinger, JA Lipton, KJ Fuchs. Computers in Cardiology, 2009, Pp. 85 - 88, PDF

This page is based on the Profile Overview Template