Three Ways to Optimize EKG Monitoring

Three Ways to Optimize EKG Monitoring

ECG scans on graph paper representing ECG monitoring

Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) tests help medical professionals monitor patients’ heartbeats to determine that their hearts are functioning properly. Failing to adhere to proper techniques when conducting EKG tests can compromise a technician’s ability to interpret the results, form diagnoses, and recommend courses of treatment.

Adequate Skin Prep

The areas of the skin that are used for electrode contact must be completely clean for accurate test results. Skin is a poor conductor of electricity, making it especially important for staff members to clear away any material that could impede the evaluation. The following items can deter electrode contact by creating a barrier that prevents conductivity:

  • Dead skin
  • Oils
  • Body hair
  • Lotions and other topical products

Steps should be taken to minimize potential complications, such as shaving hair on electrode contact sites, using non-alcoholic cleansing wipes, and vigorously drying the skin.

Noise Filtering

EKG tests yield waveform data that medical practitioners interpret and evaluate. These results are delivered in the form of a recording, and noise filtering is required to yield accurate data. Modern EKG equipment offers interpretive algorithms to aid in decision-making. However, over-filtering can distort the results, so these filters must be set to an appropriate threshold for optimal interpretations. Technicians should perform tests to ensure that the frequency levels are appropriate for the conditions in their clinic.

Evaluate and Adjust Alarm Parameter Settings

According to several studies, nurses and other medical staff members may respond to up to 700 alarms in a single day. Many of these prompts can be attributed to EKG monitoring. When clinically insignificant events trigger alarms, staff members waste time on needless interventions. Adjusting the alarm parameter settings on EKG machines can help reduce false alarms and the stress imposed on response teams.

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