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Medical Monitoring Goes Mobile

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, August 13, 2013

Monitors in ICUs are troubling to patients, as well, so it's critical that false alarms be minimized so as not to disturb patients trying to relax or sleep. As the testing progresses, nursing staff are becoming more confident that the device is issuing alarms only when patents really need attention, Graydon says. "It's a great technology that we're just learning about," she says.

"The nursing staff is excited about this new technology that gives them more information about their patient without requiring them to do more work, or adding some sort of data collection along with it," Graydon says. "Nurses are here to take care of people, not to take care of equipment. It's a great way to keep your patients safe and know what's going on at a distance, if you will."

A benefit of using ViSi Mobile in a postorthopedic surgical setting is to monitor patients' oxygen saturation while they are being administered opioid medications for pain, because such medicine suppresses the respiratory system. Continuous mobile monitoring can spot trends in respiration or blood pressure over a 24- to 48-hour period that intermittent vital sign collection can miss, Graydon says.

In phase 3 of the trial, now in the planning stages, data from ViSi Mobile devices will flow directly into Intermountain's electronic medical records, Graydon says. "I think this type of monitoring could become a standard of care," she says.

Three categories of mobile monitoring are emerging in healthcare and wellness, according to John Mattison, MD, CMIO of Kaiser Permanente, which serves more than 9 million members and employs more than 16,000 physicians.

Mattison says the first category encompasses super-athletes and warriors. Special military forces are intensively tracking their personnel's vital signs with mobile technology in cases where the health of the soldier is vital to completing the mission. Athletes are trying to squeeze "every last erg of energy" out for highly competitive events. "In five years, it will be standard practice for even high school athletes to be wearing this stuff periodically to ensure they don't have any risk indicators for sudden death or adverse consequences," Mattison says.

Category 2 is patients recovering from a hospital discharge or serious illness, Mattison says. Category 3 is "the rest of us," where mobile devices can play a "powerful role" in the initiation and reinforcement of healthy behaviors, he says.

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1 comments on "Medical Monitoring Goes Mobile"


Dr George Margelis (8/14/2013 at 6:04 PM)
Exposure to these new technologies will enable clinicians to develop new and innovative models of care that utilise the information to benefit the patient and the system. I applaud the initiative at Intermountain that allows their people to try out the new technology on themselves first and then supports innovative use with patients. It is this type of innovation that will help solve the many issues facing healthcare today. We have seen many examples of technology companies jumping in and claiming they will solve the healthcare problems using technology. They generally fail as they do not have a deep understanding of the real issues, the workflow, or what success really looks like. To them selling more boxes or software licenses is deemed to be success. To a clinician the success criteria are much more meaningful for the patient and the clinician. With some basic education on clinical informatics and health system economics I think you will also find they will develop solutions that are not only better for the patient, but also benefit the system.