I recently came across an article online by Patient Safety Solutions that went on to describe a product as “sorely needed”. As I continued to read the article I was surprised to learn that they were talking about our product, the Critical Alert, low oxygen alarms.
Oxygen Tank Monitoring
Oxygen tank monitoring is one of the many challenges hospital and nursing home staff face daily. While accidents resulting from oxygen tanks rarely occur, when they do, it can be very costly for the health of the patient and the facility, making it critical that patients’ tanks are monitored regularly to avoid unnecessary risks and adverse events. Many hospitals and nursing homes do not realize the opportunities for patient-safety improvement and operational savings that new technology can provide.
Typically, a busy nurse or nursing assistant who personnel who is responsible for manually checking oxygen cylinders that are in use. These physical checks can be inefficient and prone to errors such as:
- Difficulty reading and understanding the pressure gauge resulting in poor estimation of the cylinder contents.
- Forgetting to open the valve. They set the flowmeter dial to the desired rate and did not realize that oxygen is not flowing without opening the valve.
- Forgetting to check the pressure gauge on the oxygen tank before transport.
- Mistakenly grabbing an empty or partially empty tank instead of full one.
- Not removing the plastic cap seal on new tank.
- Oxygen tank contents are gone without anyone noticing
Safety and Regulations
Even though CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and the Joint Commission consider oxygen tanks to be “partially full” as soon as they leave the storage rack, cylinders are rarely used “until empty” and are often pulled from service when they are still half full. This happens when medical personnel are busy with numerous other tasks and fear they won’t get back to a patient before their oxygen runs out. And while this approach makes sense in terms of patient safety, discarding numerous half-full tanks in a given day is not a cost-effective practice or good management of the cylinders. The cost of renting excess inventory can cost healthcare facilities thousands of dollars each month.
Is There a Better Way?
MIJA’s Critical Alert electronically monitors oxygen cylinders by constantly conveying the status of the cylinder’s contents via colored lights, beeps, and tones to call attention to possible problems. Critical Alert allows healthcare staff to spend less time interpreting pressure data and more time focusing on patient needs.
Call MIJA for more details on Critical Alert or contact your oxygen provider for information on what electronic oxygen notification will do for your facility.