Improved continuous monitoring of hospital patients boosts staff efficiency

Healthcare CIOs should study CEM and alarms and notifications platforms for potential productivity gains.

By Ken Terry
May 25, 2017

“Nurse call systems will be reinvented,” he maintains. “Because, outside of that one imperative of the hardwire between the patient and the nursing station, everything else that a nurse call system does can be done by interactive patient care, clinical communication and collaboration systems, and alarms and notification systems.”

Whenever clinicians use mobile devices, he adds, “The CIO is always challenged by coverage, responsiveness, privacy and security issues, and ownership issues—whether the device is owned by the hospital or the individual.”

Coverage issues, however, detract much less from mobile communications in the hospital than they did five or 10 years ago, he notes. “Wireless is fairly pervasive,” he says, adding that signal strength is greater, mobile devices are better, and access points have improved.

Moreover, when clinicians leave the building, monitoring devices on an A&N platform can switch from wi-fi to cellular transmission, he says. That means that, in theory, physicians could receive alerts on their patients at home.

Runyon expects to see the advent of the mobile patient in the near future. Equipped with certain devices such as portable infusion pumps, a patient walking around the hospital could send alerts to nurse call, he notes.

All of this technology promises a safer future for hospitalized patients. “For the use case of CEM on general care floors, these monitors offer technology that’s comparable to ICU monitoring,” Shah says. “But people are still searching for peer-reviewed clinical literature that shows better clinical outcomes. And they also face the challenges of nursing workflow implementation and the cost.”

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