Hospital's new telemetry system doesn’t miss a beat

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A CCH nurse checks one of the new heart monitors at the hospital.

CORNWALL, Ontario - A new telemetry system at the Cornwall Community Hospital is helping to keep a patient’s best interest at heart.

The hospital has introduced a new system that allows a patient with potential heart problems to be continuously monitored throughout the entire building via a wireless network.

Telemetry allows doctors and nurses to monitor a patient’s heart rate and rhythm via a portable unit attached to their chest and examined from a central nursing station monitor.

“The key,” said Mike Kroon, the manager of the hospital's critical care unit, “is that we can obtain instant, real-time information with no breaks in data.”

The device itself is the size of a standard smartphone, with a display screen and five wires connected to patches which pick up signals from the heart before sending them directly to the monitor. The monitor then displays the electrical signal as a picture of a patient's heartbeat.

The new telemetry device shows the patient’s heart rhythm right on the screen and is transported in a clear bag that is worn around the neck so it will not interfere with the usual routine and care provided during hospitalization.

Doctors usually recommend using telemetry when a patient has an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), or to monitor how the heart responds to new medication. One of the major advantages is that the most responsible nurse or physician can detect emergent medical issues before they become a problem.

After going live at the end of May, the new system has already begun to show off its many improvements.

Because the old device had to be removed and then reattached to allow patients to visit different areas in the hospital, many of them would remain in their area until it was time for discharge.

“We know walking promotes engagement and quicker recovery time so having technology that permits patient mobility while ensuring total observation of the activity of the heart, is highly preferable to having a patient confined to a bed,” said Jeanette Despatie, hospital CEO.

Organizations: Cornwall Community Hospital

Geographic location: Ontario

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