A recent technological upgrade at Mount Desert Island Hospital has improved the ability of nursing staff and providers to closely monitor, evaluate, and care for patients with possible heart conditions.
“This new system is much more sophisticated than our old one and has many benefits for our patients and us,” said Tom Mockus, RN, Director of Medical and Rehab Services at MDI Hospital.
Installed in December, the new system wirelessly transmits and records cardiac activity in patients suffering from chest pains, shortness of breath, or other indicators of heart problems. Integrated into the Hospital’s electronic health record system, the new technology makes the data immediately available over a secure network for evaluation and care coordination.
The system allows Hospital clinical staff to monitor eleven more patients than before. A total of twenty five patients throughout the Hospital, including twelve in the Emergency Department, nine in the telemetry unit, and three in ICU, can be monitored by nursing staff and providers in multiple locations throughout the Hospital and off-site.
One patient in the Obstetrics Unit can now also be monitored from the ICU nurse’s station, whereas before, patients scheduled for delivery who were being monitored had to be brought into the ICU. “Now they can be cared for by an OB nurse in the comfort of the OB unit while their cardiac activity is being closely monitored by a trained nurse or provider,” said Mockus.
Because of wireless technology, a nurse or provider can monitor patients from a nurse’s station during transport, if necessary. “It allows a seamless transmission of data when moving patients from one area of the Hospital to another,” said Mockus. “The wireless technology also provides our nurses with the support of other clinicians who can monitor patients from remote work stations.”
In the Emergency Department, the new monitors use the same number of leads, the patient connections that detect heart rhythms, as EMS services. “This smoothes the transition from EMS to the hospital for the more critical patients,” said Chris Costello, RN, BS, CEN, the Hospital’s Director of Emergency and Obstetrical Services.
Connected to its own secure server, the technology is also able to gather more information than before. “With the previous system we could gather 24 hours of information and now we can record up to 72 hours of cardiac activity,” said Mockus. “The additional data is much better for diagnostic purposes.”
The new system also helps the Hospital meet a standard known as Meaningful Use put forth in federal law. The standard requires Hospitals to capture health information electronically and use it to track patient conditions, coordinate care, and report on clinical quality measures.
“We’re not only meeting federal standards with this new system,” said Mockus, “we’re improving care for our patients, and that’s the most important thing.”