Doctors and nurses at the new Palomar Medical Center ushered in a new era in patient safety recently with the historic first use of a wrist-worn device that measures patient vital signs and allows for continuous and remote wireless monitoring.
Palomar Medical Center is the first hospital in the nation to deploy the ViSi Mobile System made by San Diego-based Sotera Wireless. This high-tech device is designed to increase patient safety by keeping clinicians wirelessly connected to their patients — whether they are in bed or ambulatory — and giving clinicians the ability to recognize early signs of deterioration so they can intervene sooner. The hospital is part Palomar Health, a public health district that also includes Pomerado Hospital in Poway.
“It’s very exciting that we are the first hospital in the world to use the ViSi Mobile,” said Palomar Health Chief Medical Information Officer Ben Kanter, M.D. “Patient safety and comfort are our highest priorities. Having reliable data about the patient’s condition is essential to responding to changes at the earliest possible time and thereby preventing deterioration or even death. The ViSi Mobile allows for the delivery of accurate data in a consistent, non-invasive manner.”
The FDA-approved ViSi Mobile System continuously monitors all core vital signs — blood pressure, heart rate or pulse rate, electrocardiogram (ECG) or heart rhythm, blood oxygenation level, respiration rate and skin temperature — all with the monitoring accuracy typically found in intensive care units. The ViSi Mobile is able to transmit patient vital sign information to remote viewing or notification devices that clinicians can monitor. A major component of the ViSi Mobile is an effective alarm management system.
At Palomar Medical Center, the ViSi Mobile will be able to interface with the hospital’s electronic medical record system, which will reduce the need to manually document patient vital signs.
The new technology is intended for general medical/surgical floor patients, who have traditionally been considered lower-acuity care patients. It will not be used in intensive care units, where patients are already being monitored continuously.
Nursing staff members who use the ViSi Mobile system will not have to wheel around bulky monitoring machines whenever they need to check a patient’s vital signs. Nurses and doctors who want to do spot checks can do so without disturbing their patients.
“Patients being awakened from much needed sleep to have their vital signs taken will become a thing of the past,” Palomar Health Chief Nurse Executive Lorie Shoemaker said. “Rather than checking vital signs every several hours, our participating clinicians will be able to obtain continuous measurements without disturbing the patient, and receive instant alerts if a patient’s condition begins to deteriorate. At the bedside, they can simply tap the ViSi Mobile monitor for an instant reading of heart rate and pulse, or they can check from a remote viewing device,” Shoemaker said.