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Collecting Patient Vital Signs: From Papers to Connected Monitors

_BER3930-1In hospital departments where patients are not routinely on continuous monitoring such as general medical wards, nursing assistants or technicians are responsible for collecting patients’ vital signs data on a scheduled basis, every few hours. To do this, they do rounds, collect vital signs, very often record them on paper, and enter the information into electronic medical records after all patients’ vitals have been collected – which can lead to transcription errors1.

At the Robert Ballanger Intercommunal Hospital, in France, this long winded process is no longer in place: paper has disappeared. “The monitors are directly connected to the electronic medical records and the nurses do not need to write information down or enter information manually afterwards”, describes Mathieu Saint-Marc, Biomedical Engineer.

Located in Seine-Saint-Denis, Robert Ballanger Intercommunal Hospital is a public institution with 668 beds for medicine, inpatient and outpatient surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, rehabilitation, and psychiatry. The hospital – which serves a population of 450,000 – recently underwent major facility improvements and launched an ambitious renovation plan. The project led to an even bigger venture: becoming a paperless facility.

nurse

“Vital signs are a key component of patient care and treatment. We have about 40 to 50 patients in our ward daily. We carry out about 60 to 80 vital sign check-ups per day, explains Mathieu Saint-Marc. Our ambition was to move away from paper so that nurses can have more time to talk to their patients and do clinical examinations”.

But the big move away from paper was not an easy one. This meant finding a way to send patient data from medical devices directly to an electronic medical record system in a way that is both transparent and user-friendly.

Given the need to protect the security of patient data and minimize the likelihood of data being sent to the wrong record, having an effective and secure patient identification process was a major challenge. But at the same time, a patient identification process that requires too many steps quickly becomes tiresome for caregivers, who then may not follow it routinely. “Our objective was to make sure the patient data would be safe and avoid errors, but also to simplify our processes and be more efficient” he explains.

“We ended up with a simple three-step patient identification process: turning on the system, scanning the patient ID with a barcode reader, which automatically displays the patient’s identity information on the screen, and validating the identity of the patient.” The results from the measurements taken are then automatically sent to the validated patient’s record.

connectivity

Hospital teams worked with GE Healthcare to address specific healthcare services and consultation needs related to transmission of data from blood vital signs. The goal was to send these parameters (BP, SpO2, pulse rate and temperature) directly to the patient record.

The hospital took a major step in the direction of becoming a real paperless hospital in 2014-15 with the successful deployment as an early adopter of new patient monitoring devices, GE’s CARESCAPE VC150 vital signs monitor, that measure and record blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation levels, with connectivity to electronic medical records in the building.

The hospital’s venture to ‘become a paperless facility’ has been very successful: “now that the first department is working well, we plan on deploying it in all care areas as soon as possible. Data capturing and data transcription are prone to lots of mistakes – we remove the risk of errors and we secure the process to improve efficiency and quality of patient care.” he concludes.

The CARESCAPE VC150 vital signs monitor was launched at Arab Health today. Follow The Pulse @ArabHealth for more.

Learn more about the Robert Ballanger hospital’s experience using the CARESCAPE VC150 vital signs monitor in this video:

1 Ref. Smith LB, Banner L, Lozano D, Olney CM, Friedman B. Connected Care: Reducing errors through automated vital signs data upload. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing. 2009; 27(5)