Study Finds Automated Vitals Documentation More Accurate, Saves Time

A recent study published in the fall 2010 issue of The Journal of Healthcare Information Management (JHIM) has found that using an automated vital signs documentation system to automatically transfer vital signs assessments from bedside vital signs devices into electronic medical records reduced errors by 75 percent, compared to manually entering vital signs.

In addition, the study found that the wireless automated system reduced vital-signs acquisition/documentation times by an average of 96 seconds per reading. On a 36-bed medical/surgical unit with vital signs ordered an average of four times a day, this method could save almost 120 hours of staff time per month.

Decreasing vital signs errors has significant potential to improve patient safety because, as the study points out, “multiplication errors, transcription errors, illegible results, late data entry, misidentification of the patient, undocumented readings and missed readings can lead to faulty data, as well as unnecessary and potentially dangerous interventions or withholding of treatments.”

Welch Allyn participated in the study, which was conducted in the medical/surgical unit of a large hospital and published in the fall 2010 issue of The Journal of Healthcare Information Management (JHIM). Entitled “Vital Time Savings: Evaluating the Use of an Automated Vital Signs Documentation System on a Medical/Surgical Unit,” it is available in the print edition or, for JHIM subscribers, online at www.himss.org.

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