Continuous Monitoring of Vital Signs in the General Ward Using Wearable Devices: Randomized Controlled Trial

J Med Internet Res. 2020 Jun 10;22(6):e15471. doi: 10.2196/15471.


Background: Wearable devices can be used for continuous patient monitoring in the general ward, increasing patient safety. Little is known about the experiences and expectations of patients and health care professionals regarding continuous monitoring with these devices.

Objective: This study aimed to identify positive and negative effects as well as barriers and facilitators for the use of two wearable devices: ViSi Mobile (VM) and HealthPatch (HP).

Methods: In this randomized controlled trial, 90 patients admitted to the internal medicine and surgical wards of a university hospital in the Netherlands were randomly assigned to continuous vital sign monitoring using VM or HP and a control group. Users' experiences and expectations were addressed using semistructured interviews. Nurses, physician assistants, and medical doctors were also interviewed. Interviews were analyzed using thematic content analysis. Psychological distress was assessed using the State Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Pain Catastrophizing Scale. The System Usability Scale was used to assess the usability of both devices.

Results: A total of 60 patients, 20 nurses, 3 physician assistants, and 6 medical doctors were interviewed. We identified 47 positive and 30 negative effects and 19 facilitators and 36 barriers for the use of VM and HP. Frequently mentioned topics included earlier identification of clinical deterioration, increased feelings of safety, and VM lines and electrodes. No differences related to psychological distress and usability were found between randomization groups or devices.

Conclusions: Both devices were well received by most patients and health care professionals, and the majority of them encouraged the idea of monitoring vital signs continuously in the general ward. This comprehensive overview of barriers and facilitators of using wireless devices may serve as a guide for future researchers, developers, and health care institutions that consider implementing continuous monitoring in the ward.

Trial registration: NCT02933307;

Keywords: continuous monitoring; digital health; remote monitoring; remote sensing technology; vital signs; wearable electronic devices; wireless technology.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vital Signs / physiology*
  • Wearable Electronic Devices / standards*

Associated data