LOS ANGELES -- In a hospital, every second counts even with something as routine as checking patients’ vitals.
It’s usually an intrusive procedure that involves regular monitoring by the nursing staff. But now, there’s a high tech solution that’s making the process a lot easier and more accurate.
“Normally, vital signs are taken every four hours,” said Betty Downey, Nursing Director of the Medical Surgical Unit at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.
Downey says her hospital has seen positive results using the new monitoring system.
“This way, it’s taken every couple of minutes,” said Downey. “And, if there is a deterioration in the patient, the nurses are alerted immediately.”
A disposable bandage packed with electrodes and low power wireless technology is placed on a patient’s chest. Then, vital signs like changes in temperature, heart rate, and breathing are wirelessly sent to a computer or mobile device for monitoring.
For patients it’s hardly noticeable.
“I’m more or less unaware that it’s on me. I don’t think about something being attached to me,” said patient Rubert Williams.
And because patients wearing the devices can avoid escalating medical issues, hospital bills can be cheaper.
Each disposable patch has a battery that lasts about three days and patients can even wear the patch after being discharged, which means hospital-like monitoring is available in the comfort of their own homes.
This technology shows a lot of promise, especially if doctors can catch and treat an issue before it spirals out of control.
By Rich DeMuro