Question: Is there a position statement/policy or best practice from any organization on a safe communication plan for remote cardiac telemetry monitoring on a med-surg unit?

Complete Question: Is there a position statement/policy or best practice from any organization on a safe communication plan for remote cardiac telemetry monitoring on a med-surg unit? I worry about communication breakdown(s) and the fear of a sentinel event. Thank you.

Answer: AMSN does not have a position statement on this, nor were we able to find one in our literature search. The MEDSURG Nursing Journal archive offer many articles on building and ensuring good communication among care givers. You can access the MEDSURG Nursing Journal archive free for AMSN members, as a benefit of membership. Non-members, find information here.

The standard of practice is that telemetry technicians are trained either through a hospital-based program or an institutional program (such as those credentialed by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals). Communication is a key component of the training and ongoing competency of the monitor technician, to ensure that patient safety is maintained through this communication.

Facility based programs include didactic courses, on-the-job clinical training, and successful completion/validation of rhythm recognition courses.

Reporting of rhythms, events and when telemetry is placed, halted (for bathing, procedures, etc.) and when discontinued, is required between technicians and nurses to ensure safe practice.

This is the standard of practice we have found in those organizations queried. By following established standards, risk can be mitigated.

Many organizations have policies regarding the frequency of technician reporting of rhythms to the nurse and how that communication is documented.

(Published 2014)