Painting a real-time picture of patient health: A new monitoring approach

Painting a real-time picture of patient health: A new monitoring approach

(BPT) – If you or a loved one needs surgery, you may worry most about what happens during the surgery itself. But as healthcare providers are aware, the most vulnerable times for patient care are actually after surgery when patients are still in the hospital or recently discharged from the intensive care unit (ICU).

“We’ve made a lot of progress in patient care in the operating room. But we know the 30-day mortality rate for post-op patients represents the third-leading cause of death globally,’[i] said Randall M. Clark, M.D., FASA, past president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist.[ii] “So there’s still significant room for improvement on patient monitoring to provide the best possible care for post-op patients.”

During these critical recovery periods, continuous patient monitoring is crucial to help detect signs of patient deterioration, which can lead to hazardous – yet preventable – consequences.

Continuous monitoring is key

To make sure patients are recovering well post-surgery and not experiencing any complications, it’s essential for healthcare providers to closely monitor each patient’s vital signs, including their respiratory rate, pulse rate, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure. In particular, respiratory rate has been proven as one of the most sensitive signs for detecting early patient deterioration.[iii],[iv]

Typically, patients’ vital signs are measured by traditional ‘spot checks’ every 4-6 hours and patients are often left unattended between rounds, which can sometimes result in missing early signs of patient deterioration.

“Evidence shows that many early signs of patient deterioration or instability have gone undetected with traditional spot checks,” noted Dr. Clark.

In fact, one study showed that nurses doing spot checks missed 90% of low blood oxygen signs, even when the condition persisted for an hour or more.[v] Even the smallest changes to a patient’s vital signs can indicate a bigger problem but may go unnoticed when spot checks are only done every few hours.

“Preventing post-operative adverse events is vital, and continuous monitoring and response helps us do that more effectively – which makes a difference for our patients,” said Dr. Clark. “It helps healthcare providers detect issues quickly and use that information to act immediately. That level of care can also impact a patient’s quality of life when they go home.”

The solution: Wireless technology that offers continuous monitoring.

To provide clinicians with a real-time view of a patient’s vital signs, GE HealthCare has introduced Portrait™ Mobile, a first-of-its-kind wireless and wearable monitoring solution that uses innovative measurement technology to continuously capture a patient’s respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and pulse rate. Continuously monitoring patients can help clinicians recognize any potential signs of deterioration earlier than traditional spot check methods and enables them to provide the right care at the right time.

Because of its small size and wireless technology, Portrait Mobile allows patients to move about and it easily goes wherever they do during recovery in the hospital. Getting mobile as soon as possible can also help improve a patient’s recovery and rehabilitation after undergoing surgery.

To learn more about how Portrait Mobile can support care that can flex with changing patient needs, visit

[i] The Lancet, The Global Burden of Post-operative Death,, accessed July 24, 2023.

[ii] Freundlich RE, Maile MD, Sferra JJ, Jewell ES, Kheterpal S, Engoren M. Complications Associated With Mortality in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Database. Anesth Analg. 2018;127(1):55-62. Published July 1, 2019. doi: Accessed October 9, 2023

[iii] Churpek, M. M., Yuen, T. C., Huber, M. T., Park, S. Y., Hall, J. B., & Edelson, D. P. (2012). Predicting Cardiac Arrest on the Wards. Chest, 141(5), 1170-1176.

[iv] Churpek, M. M., Yuen, T. C., Winslow, C., Meltzer, D. O., Kattan, M. W., & Edelson, D. P. (2016). Multicenter Comparison of Machine Learning Methods and Conventional Regression for Predicting Clinical Deterioration on the Wards. Critical Care Medicine, 44(2), 368-374.

[v] Sun Z, Sessler DI, Dalton JE, et al. Postoperative hypoxemia is common and persistent. Anesth Analg. 2015;121(3):709-715. doi:10.1213/ane.0000000000000836


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