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Sunnybrook nurses view cardiac waveforms on the go

TORONTO – Sunnybrook’s Schulich Heart Centre is the first in Canada to provide nurses and other healthcare professionals with wireless handheld devices to monitor cardiac waveforms and receive critical internal communications.

“Nurses can now view a patient’s cardiac waveform on the go,” says Susan Michaud, Operations Director for the Sunnybrook Schulich Heart Centre. “Having remote access to alerts and heart equipment alarms means that there is enhanced communication, allowing the appropriate staff to respond to patients more efficiently.”

The technology solution links the hospital’s Philips cardiac telemetry monitoring system with a handheld device from Cisco, using event management software from Philips Emergin.

The new technology is in place in the 16-bed Dr. Brian W. Gilbert CICU and the 36-bed Schulich Cardiac Unit (D3) and allows nurses to view a six-second waveform within a few seconds. Cardiac telemetry is the continuous monitoring of a patient's heart and rhythm, which generally takes place at a central monitoring station by a dedicated telemetry nurse.

The new solution also reduces ambient noise from overhead pages as handheld devices provide direct communication between staff. “When healthcare providers are not physically in a patient’s room, they rely on overhead pages, which can potentially increase the environmental stress in a hospital unit,” adds Michaud.

“This new technology lets me see heart rhythms right away so I can quickly respond to my patients’ needs. I can also easily message with the right people, so it has improved communication greatly on the unit,” says Metilda Manuel, a registered nurse in the Schulich Cardiac Unit.

From an information technology perspective, Sunnybrook and its technology partners Philips and Bell (for Cisco) built a first-of-its-kind solution in Canada. “We ventured into uncharted territory as this is the first Philips Emergin Enterprise solution in Canada,” explains Rick Hueper, Project Lead, Solutions, for Sunnybrook’s Information and Telecommunication Services. “We began looking at possible technology solutions last year and were consistently impressed with the innovation and flexibility of Philips Emergin to seamlessly deliver the Philips telemetry waveform to the Cisco wireless handset.”

“We are delighted that Sunnybrook chose to collaborate with Philips in delivering this industry-leading solution, created to help improve patient care, quality of service and overall satisfaction,” says Jeff Vachon, Director of Healthcare Informatics, for Philips. “Sunnybrook’s decision to integrate Philips Emergin event management with Philips telemetry only reinforces their commitment to using the latest and greatest enterprise-class innovations available to the Canadian healthcare industry.”

This new solution presents the opportunity to further enhance patient safety through a hierarchy of clinically significant and relevant alerts that can be provided directly to care givers. A distinct advantage is the utilization of alarm notification, response and acknowledgement tracking to improve incident management analysis, potentially leading to improved processes. Next steps for the project include the ability for a patient to call a nurse directly from the bedside.

Posted May 19, 2011