Wireless Device 'Frees Up Nurses' Time'

A New Wireless Device Promises To Improve Patient Health Surveillance


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
A new device being tested by the NHS has the capability to allow nurses to spend more time on important tasks, according to its creators.

The monitoring patch, which is stuck to a patient's chest - just above their heart - keeps track of a person's heart rate, temperature and breathing rate, reports the BBC.

This information is transmitted to a central database, which looks for red flags, including low heart rates or rapidly increased breathing, and dispatches nurses to ensure the patient is okay.

Although this data is already tracked by nurses in the NHS, it requires visual surveillance and takes time away from staff who may have other important tasks to attend to.

A private hospital in Brighton run by the Spire healthcare group has already trialled the battery-powered patch, with mainly positive results.

Victoria Howard, a staff nurse at the hospital praised the new system, stating: "It gives us a bit more time with some patients when we know some patients do need that bit more time.

"Without this monitor, you're constantly thinking what's happening in the next room, and I should go in there and check them."

Typically, patients are checked on every four hours, but in these intervals it is possible that people with more advanced ailments might deteriorate or potentially even die because of poor surveillance.

However, despite praise from a number of people in the medical community, the Royal College of Nursing said technological advances should not be considered as a substitute for a robust staff base.

One of the greatest benefits of the patch is its relative low cost. Each device costs around £35 and lasts for five days, which is long enough for most hospital stays. Those who need longer treatment can have their patch replaced - keeping costs low in comparison to costly manual surveillance checks.

It is unclear when a decision will be made to roll out the patch to all NHS England hospitals.

Expert Opinion
Any new technology or tools that help to improve the standard of care given to patients is welcome. The positive results that emerged from the trial in Brighton would indicate that the new wireless devices can free up staff to spend more time on important tasks.

"However, a robust staff presence is also required to ensure care standards are maintained and patients are given the attention they need. The value of one-to-one human contact cannot be underestimated.

"Patient safety must remain the top priority for all healthcare providers and before any technology of this type is rolled out nationally, both the NHS and private sector must be confident care standards will not be compromised in any way."
Julie Lewis, Partner