Does this patient need telemetry? An analysis of telemetry ordering practices at an academic medical center

Stephanie Chen, Sonali Palchaudhuri, Amber Johnson, Jeff Trost, Ileana Ponor, Sammy Zakaria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: The American Heart Association and Choosing Wisely campaign recommend guideline-based usage of telemetry. Inappropriate use leads to increased costs, alarm fatigue, and inefficient nursing care. This study assesses provider ordering practices for telemetry at a US-based academic hospital. Methods: This retrospective study includes all telemetry orders in the medicine and progressive care units from April 2014 to March 2015. Indications were grouped into categories per American Heart Association guidelines. Results: The top 3 cardiac indications included angina/acute coronary syndrome (35.3%), arrhythmias (19.7%), and heart failure (10.2%). However, noncardiac indications accounted for 20.2% of orders, including respiratory conditions (17.4%), infection (17.4%), substance abuse (14.0%), bleeding (12.4%), vital sign monitoring (10.4%), altered mental status (7.0%), and pulmonary embolus/deep vein thrombosis (7.0%). Conclusions: One-fifth of patients were monitored on telemetry for noncardiac indications. We recommend further study on the benefits and risks of telemetry in these patients and systems-based changes for appropriate usage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017



  • Cardiac monitoring
  • Guideline adherence
  • Quality improvement
  • Telemetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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