Evaluation Background: Telemetry Systems with Integrated Displays

June 22, 2022 | Evaluations & Guidance


Here's background for our Evaluations of telemetry systems with integrated-displays, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. Learn how the technology is used, which specs are important, and what factors we test for. Also review our latest product ratings and ECRI's data describing hospitals' interest in each vendor**.

Telemetry systems were developed to monitor patients who are at risk for cardiac events but not acutely ill enough to warrant bedside monitoring. Telemetry systems provide limited physiologic monitoring capabilities in a compact, wearable device. Telemetry transmitters are primarily used to measure patients' ECG rhythms and detect any potential arrhythmias. They often offer additional measurements that can be used to monitor conditions like hypoxia and compromised respiratory status.

Telemetry systems with integrated displays offer the same basic functionality as conventional cardiac telemetry systems but with the inclusion of a transmitter display. These displays provide clinicians with a quick, patient-side view of the ECG to assess the patient's status or the quality of the ECG signal (e.g., to confirm appropriate placement or satisfactory contact quality of ECG electrodes). Some of these systems also allow functionality at the transmitter that is more commonly associated with the central station, such as annunciating alarms and allowing clinicians to set alarm limits, silence alarms, review recent clinical alarms, and access full-disclosure ECG recordings. With these features, the transmitters approach the functionality of a miniature transport physiologic monitor.

Telemetry is considered a mature technology; today's telemetry systems include sophisticated arrhythmia detection systems, like other physiologic monitors. Some systems also can monitor respiration, pulse oximetry (SpO2), and noninvasive blood pressure. Some suppliers also offer features such as location tracking for the telemetry transmitter, patient fall notifications, and wandering notifications.

Major components of a typical telemetry system with integrated display include the following:

  1. A patient-worn transmitter that is connected via cables to the patient's ECG electrodes and communicates wirelessly with the server and central station

  2. A server that processes and stores data received from patients

  3. A central station monitor that...

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