What is telemetry monitoring? It is a system used in hospitals that enables the continuous tracking of your heartbeat. It is attached to your body using electrodes, which transmit your vital data to a central monitor for analysis. Doctors use telemetry monitoring if you’ve been diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). It is also used if you’re simply at risk of arrhythmia or sudden heart problems. It allows doctors to take swift action and modify your treatment. The monitors are closely watched (supposedly) by nurses and medical technicians.
This is how telemetry is supposed to work and, if properly monitored, telemetry improves health care by alerting your doctors and nurses about a problem before it becomes life-threatening.
It doesn’t always work that way. Why? Often no one is watching the monitors. Sometimes those watching the monitors turn off “alarms” designed to alert medical providers to a potential medical emergency.
Watch this clip from NBC Nightly News which shares a story about how an HCA hospital fails its patients.
Why would hospitals fail to take full advantage of this life-saving technology? Money is the answer. Many hospitals don’t want to hire the staff or pay appropriately trained staff to make the system work. It is corporate medicine pure and simple.