Biotelemetry: The Future of Nursing

You are a nurse. Every four hours, you have to take the vital signs of a patient. You have to check his or her blood pressure, the heart rate, the temperature, and the respiratory rate. If you have 6 patients in the ward then you have to check them one by one. You have to jot down each of these values on paper and you have to transfer them to the patient’s records once you get back to the nurse’s station. You have to do all these while providing medications, giving health education, and performing treatments to these six patients. To top it all off, there is a chance that you may be charting those vital signs on the wrong chart. Would it not be better if all patients can be monitored from the nurse’s station?

Well that dream is slowly materializing into our world. The future of nursing is in biotelemetry. This is the measurement of important data such as vital signs from a distance. Just hook your patient up to electrodes and you are good. Biotelemetry works hand in hand with current technology.

Biotelemetry has been in use already for quite some time, though not universally accepted. Costs are high and only the most critical patients are given this privilege, most especially in coronary care units and intensive care units where round the clock monitoring happens. However, why should not everyone get this privilege? Again, machinery costs are high translating into higher hospital expenses. But as the technology becomes mainstream, costs are slowly diving and is becoming more affordable.

The technology is slowly gaining ground in all areas as it has several advantages over traditional rounds.

  •  Nursing TechnologyIt is convenient and it saves a lot of time.
  • It prevents error in documentation, such as charting on the wrong patient’s record.
  • It prevents lazy health care personnel from guessing the vital signs of stable patients. Even stable patients may decompensate suddenly and normal vital signs charted will not signal this.
  • It provides continuous monitoring.
  • It stops disturbing the patient, as no one has to knock every four hours just to get his temperature.

Moreover, biotelemetry is even being used by bedridden patients who want to stay at home, rather than at the hospital. Though a nearby nurse may be absent, doctors and nurses are still able to monitor the patient from afar giving them an unparalleled edge as to the patient’s status. If the patient suddenly destabilizes, an ambulance would be sent on its way without delay.

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