Monitoring of non-critical-care patients (such as those found on the general care floor) is typically conducted only intermittently by hospital staff. These “spot checks” are very different from the continuous monitoring found in the intensive care units (ICUs). The time gap between low-acuity spot checks can be several hours – often, warning signs of danger can occur during this time, and therefore be missed. Studies have suggested that continuously monitoring patients in low-acuity areas can enhance patient safety and potentially save lives. For example, patients demonstrating early signs of deterioration may be identified and treated before their conditions significantly deteriorate (possibly preventing transfer to a critical care unit).
An increasing number of hospitals are looking for monitoring solutions for their low-acuity care areas. Specifically, there is a growing interest in systems that can provide continuous vital signs measurements and central surveillance, yet without the cost of high-acuity patient monitoring systems.
Hospitals are asking:
What patients should be monitored?
How should they determine the time frame for monitoring?
What are the options for technical approaches?
How are other facilities handling this?
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