Monitoring Those E.R. MonitorsJoseph Weber
HOSPITALIZED PATIENTS are often hooked up to a clutch of machines to keep them alive or to monitor blood pressure and other vital signs. Confronted with this beeping, flashing array, it's all too easy for doctors or nurses to miss alarms. To simplify things, Dr. Igal Nevo at Philadelphia's Albert Einstein Medical Center created a program called Vigiatrix, which converts a patient's vital signs into several colorful, easy-to-read images on a PC monitor. Instead of duplicating the other devices, it takes their information and generates a new indicator, called Vital Function Status, which appears on the screen in constantly changing line charts. If an emergency develops, Vigiatrix will flash warning lights that direct the doctor to other monitors for more detail. Large-scale tests are planned at Einstein and two other hospitals.