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KGH enters 2004 with cutting edge telemetry


December 20, 2003
Saturday - 12:45 am

Ketchikan General Hospital (KGH) announced that its patient monitoring equipment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the telemetry in the Medical/Surgical Unit have been upgraded to cutting edge technology. "It's state of the art point-of-care equipment. You can't get anything newer than this," stated Rick Watson, Lead Biomedical Engineer at the hospital.

The new patient monitoring system fully equips five ICU rooms, where previously only four rooms were equipped--and those four rooms shared various components of the monitoring equipment, so they had to be moved about as needed. On the Medical/Surgical Unit there were previously six portable units. This upgrade brings seven telemetry units to the department, with the option of upgrading easily to eight. In addition, a patient with a portable telemetry unit may now be monitored when in the OB Unit or the Radiology Department.

The new equipment replaces a 10-year old system, which was becoming obsolete by virtue of the lack of manufacture support for its components. Features of the new equipment include:

  • The ability to do 12-lead electro-cardiograms (ECGs) derived from five leads, up from three leads with the previous equipment
  • Touch-screen technology, allows for quicker access to features such as zooming in on a waveform on the screen, altering settings and recalling events
  • Flat-screen monitors at the nurses stations and in patient rooms, taking up 1/3 the space of the previous monitoring station
  • 24-hour storage of all waveforms monitored, so that physicians can pinpoint the time of a change or an incident and pull up the exact screen data from that moment within 24 hours
  • Point of care review station: as the hospital integrates other departments, the physician will be able to pull up x-rays, lab results and medical records on the patient monitoring screen
  • Shared monitoring of any ICU and Med/Surg patient by the ICU nurse on duty
    CO2 monitoring (with staff training to take place in February or March)
  • The new system runs on standard PCs rather than dedicated hardware. Therefore as the company improves software, hardware systems can remain in use.
  • The previous telemetry frequency was shared with commercial digital TV, which could interfere. The new frequency is dedicated for medical use only.

The upgrade has been in KGH planning for several years. Initial costs came in at $340,000. However through PeaceHealth buying group, KGH purchasing staff was able to bring the price down to $238,000. KGH/PeaceHealth is a private non-profit, so that after salaries and operating costs are paid, excess funds each year--or "the bottom line"--go to purchase medical equipment. "We feel extremely fortunate that we had this money to spend this year, and were able to bring this exceptional technology to Ketchikan," said Patrick Branco, CEO.


Source of News Release:

Ketchikan General Hospital
Web Site


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