H.5 Cordless Vital Sign Monitoring
Hospital Acquired Delirium is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in the inpatient setting. This condition is characterized by waxing and waning mental status that can occur in elderly folks after even only a few hours in the healthcare setting and persist for many months after hospitalization. The prevalence is up to 64% in some studies and is associated with a 33% mortality rate in the hospital setting.[1,2] One contributor to Hospital Acquired Delirium is the burden of cords and attachments that tether patients to their beds and cause physical discomfort. These cords include vital sign monitors, telemetry boxes, IV lines, and many, many other devices that are too numerous to tackle in a single project.
At the moment, the methods we have to reduce Hospital Acquired Delirium are limited. They focus largely on minimizing disruptions to the patients’ circadian rhythm and re-orienting them to their surroundings. We open windows when the sun is up and close them at night. We open doors to the hospital room during the day to increase human interaction. We reduce blood draws at night to allow the patient to sleep. These measures have been shown to be effective, but ultimately insufficient.
I propose a simple fix: we create a device and system of monitoring patient’s vitals that is cordless. We live in 2023 when cordless devices are the norm and yet our hospitals are behind the curve. The device would need to monitor five vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, oxygen saturation, and respiratory rate) and transmit the results to a central hub wirelessly on a routine basis (ie. every hour, every 4 hours, etc.) The device would also need to be able to perform telemetry (continuous EKG monitoring) and transmit the results continuously and wirelessly to a hub for review by telemetry technicians. If successful, this method of vital sign and telemetry monitoring has the potential to be the standard of care in all inpatient hospital units.
2. Leslie DL, Marcantonio ER, Zhang Y, Leo-Summers L, Inouye SK. One-year health care costs associated with delirium in the elderly population. Arch Intern Med. (2008) 168:27–32. 10.1001/archinternmed.2007.4 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]