Adoption of a mobile device-based patient surveillance system cut mortality in British hospitals by 15 percent, according to researchers.

A study published in BMJ Quality and Safety looked at mortality rates for Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, and University Hospital Coventry between 2005 and 2010, during the introduction of the VitalPAC electronic system--developed by The Learning Clinic in London--for recording patient observations. It found a 15 percent drop in mortality in each hospital following the system’s introduction, amounting to a reduction in deaths of more than 370 a year in each hospital.

Specifically, the researchers found crude mortality fell from a baseline of 7.75 percent to 6.42 percent in one hospital (estimated 397 fewer deaths), and from 7.57 percent to 6.15 at the second (estimated 372 fewer deaths). At both hospitals, multiyear statistical process control analyses revealed abrupt and sustained mortality reductions, coincident with the deployment and increasing use of the system. The cumulative total of excess deaths was reduced in all specialties with increasing use of the system across the hospital.

The wireless-linked VitalPAC allows nurses to record patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and other vital signs on an iPod instead of a paper chart.

The study is available here.

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