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Mobile monitoring system improves ED’s efficiency
Would you rather move a seriously ill patient with chest pain and shortness of breath from one room to the next so he or she can be monitored — or bring the monitor to that patient?
At Mecosta General Hospital, a 74-bed hospital in Big Rapids, MI, an ED’s investment in a $250,000 mobile cardiac monitoring system not only improves patient care, but cuts staff time related to transferring patients from room to room, reports Virginia R. Keusch, RN, critical care services clinical manager for the ED.
She estimates the productivity costs saved by the Escort system (manufactured by Orlando, FL-based Invivo Corp.), which can be used for any monitored patient, are $75 per day or $27,375 annually, which includes staff time spent moving patients, making electrode changes, changing beds, etc. In addition, patients now can be monitored in all of the ED’s 11 beds instead of only the four rooms containing hard-wired monitors, she says.
There also is a potential savings by avoiding staff injury caused by pushing stretchers around unnecessarily, adds Keusch.
Previously, if four patients were being monitored and two were on telemetry, no monitors would be left if a chest pain patient came in, she explains. "Nurses would have to confer as to which of the four monitored patients could be moved off the monitor and left either without a monitor or downgraded to a telemetry pack."
The patient deemed at less risk than the new patient would have to be disconnected and their stretcher moved to another room, or even the hallway, says Keusch. "This domino situation could continue throughout the day to the frustration of everyone, with stretchers moving room to room," she adds.
The goal was to invest in a system that was not cost prohibitive, had up-to-date technology, a good maintenance contract, and a training program for nursing and bio-med staff, says Keusch. "We researched about six companies and then had demonstrations from four companies," she says. "We were impressed with the ease of use and functionality of the Invivo product."
Patient satisfaction has improved significantly since the system was implemented, reports Keusch. "Moving them around was stressful for patients and their families and might have inadvertently given the message of not being as important as another patient," she says. "Our time now can be better spent with the patients settled into one room."
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