Penn Medicine testing wearable patient monitoring

Penn Medicine

The University of Pennsylvania Health System is testing continuous, wearable patient monitoring in a three-week pilot that is being conducted with real inpatients in a hospital ward.

The small-scale test has launched on Monday in a medical-surgical unit for cancer patients. Penn Medicine didn’t share which monitoring devices it’s using but said these are FDA-approved hospital products, not consumer devices, and are worn on the arm.

The monitors are not yet integrated with the hospital’s electronic health record.And after just a few days, the response seems positive.

“The nurse doesn’t have to wake you up to measure blood pressure,” Associate CIO Jim Beinlich said to MedCity News. “That changes nursing workflow,” as nurses can take vitals remotely, rather than having to visit each bed. The system also allows patients to have a better night’s sleep.

The monitors are not yet integrated with the hospital’s electronic health record, so nurses still have to transcribe data and manually enter readings. If Penn Medicine determines this technology is more practical and cost-effective than traditional systems and keeps using it beyond three weeks, then the IT department will look at connecting the monitors to the EHR.

Nevertheless, the IT guys had to make upgrades to the hospital’s wireless network in the test unit in order to accommodate the monitors.