Transporting Telemetry Patients

Writing in a special supplement to the American Journal of Nursing, the director of a stepdown unit at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) St. Margaret Hospital details her team’s experience with changing a fundamental policy regarding transporting telemetry patients for off-unit procedures. The UPMC health system had extensive experience with the Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB) initiative dating back to 2003 when one of its hospitals served as an original pilot site. Utilizing the rapid-change, nurse-led TCAB quality improvement framework, this stepdown unit was able to develop and refine an algorithm to determine which patients could safely be transported off-monitor, thereby reducing the amount of nursing time spent off the unit. The algorithm has been used daily for nearly two years without any adverse events and is hailed by staff nurses as a success.