Medical Device Integration Blog

Batched Vitals

Posted by Halley Cooksey, RN on Jul 16, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Nursing school…

Just hearing those words can make many of us cringe and flood us with a multitude of memories, whether it was studying the Krebs Cycle until 3 a.m. only to have to show up for clinicals at 7 a.m., or being convinced that you were going to be diagnosed with whatever disease process you were currently learning. All fond memories aside, nursing school was just that: school.

It gave me a foundation, but it didn’t give me the experience I was going to need to survive in the real world. We all talk about real world vs. textbook nursing. But it isn’t until you are on the floor – by yourself – that you really learn what being a nurse is all about and how to manage your time.

Time management is a critical component for any nurse to master. We must figure out how to be in six to eight patient rooms at nearly the same time and ensure we are providing personal, high quality, safe care. So, to “clone” ourselves, we learn to create shortcuts. Some of them are OK, but they often go against established hospital policy. One of the shortcuts I developed was “batched vitals”.

Batched vitals is a process I used when I would have a patient return from a procedure or who would require frequent vital signs monitoring. Knowing that I could not be in the room every 15 minutes, I would program the vitals machine to take measurements according to the doctor’s order and would promise myself to return and check on the patient, peek at the vitals, and then go on my way and repeat the process. Once I could steal away 15 uninterrupted minutes, I would wheel my computer in and manually enter the vitals in to the flow sheet from the vitals machine.

Is this shortcut safe? Have you ever “batched” your vitals?

I ask because I am truly curious as to what other nurses are doing. What is their real world practice as compared to textbook nursing? As a vendor who is out in the field, I get a lot of feedback from nurses and I have found that batched vitals seem to be a general practice. I am not saying that it is right or wrong (although I’m slightly comforted that I am not on an island of my own). But what I am asking is do we need to look at what the impact is on patient care by following this process?

I have read a few studies, but nothing says in bright red letters: “you must be at the bedside every 15 minutes”. But, if this is the case, does technology need to support real nursing practice and allow for sending validated batches of vitals? Or, should we continue with business as usual and embrace the adage of “we’ve always done it this way”?

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Tags: Medical Device Connectivity, Patient Care, Medical Device Integration, Patient Safety, Nurses, Nursing Stories, Vital Signs

The Big Picture of Patient Care

Posted by Karen Lund, RN BSN on May 22, 2014 @ 02:00 PM

Nurses often talk about understanding “the big picture” in order to provide safe, competent care. As technologies move closer to the bedside, the practicing nurse naturally becomes a major user of them. As a nurse, it’s critically important that we know our patients.  That means, connecting the technologies and data together to get a clear picture about the true state of the patient.  However, with complicated patients the focus is sometimes blurry.

Knowing your patient well – having an accurate assessment of trending data and a good practice foundation – will help bring that picture into focus. But, with constantly evolving health care reform, the worsening nursing shortage and the increase in the elderly population, our workplace will demand nurses to be even more adaptable, efficient and flexible.  We will no longer be able to make slow changes in practice, but will need to predict outcomes accurately, and swiftly alter our practice to keep up with future demands. That makes research, evidence-based interventions and clinical decision support – information technology – critical to getting the “big picture” and improving patient care. 

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Tags: Patient Care, Patient Safety, Nurses, Healthcare Technology

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Posted by Kevin Phillips on Nov 26, 2013 @ 11:43 AM

The Alarming Problem of Alarm Fatigue

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Tags: Medical Device Connectivity, Medical Device Integration, Patient Safety, Alarms and Alerts, Alarm Fatigue

Digital Disruption at the Point-of-Care

Posted by Susan Niemeier, MHA, BSN, RN on Nov 11, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Some of the most important patient information isn't stored in an electronic medical record. It’s captured by the nurse and archived in the nurse’s memory—patient nicknames, favorite TV shows or preferred foods. When nurses spend less time charting and more quality time with patients, there’s often room to focus on all those details that truly personalize care.

We all love to talk about the importance of a quality patient interaction. You’ve seen it before – the literature with imagery of an empathetic, caring clinician-patient interaction and a story about how it contributes to better patient compliance and positive outcomes. Unfortunately the all-too-familiar reality in today’s fast-paced healthcare environment is the struggle to deliver the highest level of care in the shortest timeframe. Too often, that means nurses have to make hard choices.

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Tags: Medical Device Connectivity, Patient Care, Medical Device Integration, Patient Safety, Patient Data, Nurses

InteGREATion: If you haven’t considered MDI…

Posted by Capsule on Nov 04, 2013 @ 08:00 AM

Hundreds… thousands of medical devices, all monitoring and recording data for a hospital full of patients, data which is the lifeblood of a hospital. All of that data is presumably flowing into electronic medical records (EMRs). Or is it? In hospitals that have not implemented medical device integration (MDI), clinicians face a frustrating process of not only manually recording device data somewhere, only to have to re-enter it in the EMR, but also experiencing delays in gaining access to information that can give them an accurate, near real time picture of a patient’s condition.  Many of the EMR’s numerous benefits for clinicians and patients are untapped. Moreover, it’s a process prone to mistakes and inaccuracies in the patient record.

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Tags: Medical Device Connectivity, Patient Care, Medical Device Integration, Patient Safety, Patient Data