Just two days after he came to the hospital in pretty bad condition with a ruptured spleen, we met LeRoy Johnson as he was about to meet his goal of a quick discharge after a speedy recovery.

Johnson brings up something that many hospital patients talk about: “When you are sick, the best thing you can do is to sleep... to rest... to heal... and when you are constantly woken up, it is like it is breaking up the healing process." He believes the trick to his quick turnaround was all in the wrist.

When he was admitted, Johnson was outfitted with what’s called a ViSi Mobile System, a gadget branded as the first body-worn monitor to accurately (and non-invasively) measure all core vital signs on a "beat-to-beat" basis.

The ViSi Mobile System lets hospital personnel monitor a patient's vital statistics remotely without disturbing them.
The ViSi Mobile System lets hospital personnel monitor a patient's vital statistics remotely without disturbing them.
Johnson read his vitals from the screen on his wrist: “Heart rate is 82, respiration is 23, and oxygen level is 97. It’s all right there.”

And it’s all right there at the nurses’ station, too, which means no longer do patients have to be awakened so their vitals can be checked every four hours — especially during those dreaded rounds.

“Midnight and 4 a.m. We were having to go in there and wake the patient up and strap a blood pressure cuff on them," explained Emily Romano, nurse educator in the orthopedic trauma unit at The Medical Center of Plano.

Now, with the ViSi Mobile System, blood pressure can be checked continuously, along with cardiac info, respiration rate, even body position — all while a patient sleeps. It is a critical improvement, considering that medical experts have warned in multiple studies that sleep deprivation in the hospital can lead to “negative health outcomes, patient distress…weakened immune systems, and dangerous fatigue."

The ViSi Mobile System lets hospital personnel monitor a patient's vital statistics remotely without disturbing them.
The ViSi Mobile System lets hospital personnel monitor a patient's vital statistics remotely without disturbing them.
In her years on the floor, Romano has seen what lack of sleep can mean for her patients.

“First thing we do when we walk in a room is ask them how their day was, and if they say, 'Oh, I didn’t sleep at all last night... it was horrible,' they usually don’t have a great day, either," she said.


The Medical Center of Plano says it is the first hospital facility in North Texas to start using the technology. Romano said it has already paid off: The continuous feed of patient information flagged a potential problem that might have otherwise gone undetected for a few more hours.

"We’ve had to transfer patients to a higher level of care," she said.

And Romano says nurses have more time to perform vital tasks now that they’re not having to manually check vital signs, a chore Romano says consumed “probably about six hours a day on each floor."

Thanks to two relatively restful nights of sleep in the hospital, LeRoy Johnson was quickly in a position to trade in his wrist monitor (and his hospital bed) for his own bed.

Johnson insists the wrist device helped him sleep — and, therefore — heal faster.

“Absolutely," he said. "I think I would have been here another day or so if I hadn’t been able to get some sleep.”

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