Special report: Continuous monitoring has continuous benefits

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | May 21, 2014
From the May 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The medical center concluded that if all of the patients on the study floor were enrolled in the study, the hospital could have saved over $10 million.

With the growing need to reduce hospital costs as well as pressures due to increased health issues among patient populations, these continuous monitors are looking more and more attractive to health care facilities. “There is a heightened awareness of people wanting to monitor patients on the general floor because patients are getting older and sicker, they’re having more potent drugs administered and more difficult procedures,” says Sotera’s Manning.

Solutions to the rescue
ECRI has identified a host of continuous monitor products targeted for use in low acuity areas that they have placed in three main categories. The categories are noncontact monitoring solutions, bedside monitors similar to traditional monitors, but without detailed cardiac monitoring capabilities, and wireless modules that the patient wears. The new Connex Clinical Surveillance System falls into the bedside monitor category and it’s the result of extensive partnerships between Welch Allyn, Masimo, Covidien and EarlySense. It combines a vital signs monitor, acoustic respiration monitoring, end-tidal carbon dioxide technology and contact-free motion, heart and respiratory rate monitoring.

From the start, Welch Allyn decided they didn’t want to compete with the big companies, so they decided to work in partnership with them. “It really made sense to pull them into the Connex system,” says Dave Perkins, senior manager of global marketing programs management at Welch Allyn.

The Connex Vital Signs Monitor measures pulse rate, pulse oximetry and temperature and can be configured as a traditional or continuous spot-check monitor. Based on the hospitals patient population, the facility can choose additional surveillance devices.

For instance, if a hospital wants a respiration monitoring they can choose from Covidien’s Capnography, Masimo’s Acoustic Respiratory Monitoring or EarlySense’s contact- free sensing. The sensor is placed under the mattress and it also measures pulse rate and motion levels.

Clinicians can view all of this information in the patient’s room from the device itself, the Connex Central Station on hallway displays, a mobile device and within the electronic medical record.

In ECRI’s wireless module category, there’s a new wearable monitor that weighs just over four ounces. Sotera’s ViSi Mobile System got FDA approval this past October and the company says it’s the smallest, bodyworn monitor that continuously monitors all vital signs.

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