Choosing A Vital Signs Monitor

Having the ability to quickly, easily and accurately see, record and track patient vital signs is a key part of patient care. While all vital signs monitor designs on the market have their own unique features and advantages, knowing what you need in your own facility will be a key factor in choosing the right equipment.

One of the biggest issues to consider will be the portability factor or the ability to move and position the monitor as needed. Most systems are designed to be highly portable, but some may have a difference in where features are on the machine that make it a better option given specific types of use.


There are a wide number of applications for the use of a vital signs monitor over more elaborate and expensive monitors. The machine can monitor pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate as well as body temperature. The multi-parameter monitors offer more complete monitoring options and are often used in intensive care units, progressive care units, surgical theaters and recovery rooms as well as for patients with specific health issues or risks.

For use in clinics, doctor’s offices, hospitals and even for patients at home or in hospice or nursing care facilities, these monitors are a very practical option. They are intuitive to use and staff or even home or family caregivers can be quickly trained in the basic operation of the monitors.

Important Factors

When comparing the different makes and models of monitors, it will be important to consider the actual display options for the device. Some offer larger screens with bright displays for easy reading of the monitor even in less than ideal lighting conditions.

Additionally, most of the top vital signs monitor designs will have a built-in printer that allows for continual recording of vital signs if a hard copy is required. Yet other monitors will have the capability to interface or share data with electronic patient record systems. This is ideal in a medical facility as data is transferred in real-time to the patient’s electronic record, allowing medical staff to have immediate access to information.

Most of the monitors operate on both battery power as well as standard electrical power. This allows them to be plugged in for ongoing use, keeping batteries continually charged. When moving patients or in the event of a power outage the battery power can operate for several hours, some models exceeding 10 hours, before a charge is required.

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