Bedside vital signs monitor goes mobile

Drager's Infinity M540 displays a patient's real-time vital signs on the go. Designed to fit in the palm of a caregiver's hand, the display auto-rotates so that it is always upright.

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is based in Portland, Oregon, and has written for Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, and public radio. Her semi-obscure hobbies include climbing, billiards, board games that take up a lot of space, and piano.
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
2 min read

When a caregiver leaves a patient's hospital room, or when that patient is transferred from one ward to another, it can be tricky to monitor vital signs without interruption. What if that data all fit on one screen in the palm of the caregiver's hand?

The Infinity M540 displays a patient's vital signs on-the-go. Drager

The 120-year-old German medical technology company Drager has built the Infinity Acute Care System to constantly improve hospital processes and procedures, and the suite's new Infinity M540, released at Medica 2009, is designed to make the continuous reading and monitoring of vital signs much easier.

The monitor travels with the patient from one room to the next (i.e. emergency room to intensive care), and a caregiver can remove it from its dock with just one hand.

Even when removed, the vital signs are recorded and displayed without interruption, and when placed back on the docking system--even if that station has moved to a different ward--it backfills all data recorded since being removed from the dock. That data goes to the Medical Cockpit, the central control and viewing unit of the Infinity Acute Care System.

Probably the coolest feature of the M540 is that, when docked, it automatically adjusts to ward-specific settings via the Medical Cockpit, so that as it travels throughout a hospital it displays whichever vital signs have been deemed relevant to that ward.

Another handy feature is that the monitor's display auto-flips when turned 180 degrees, so that it can be positioned on either side of a patient without disrupting cable connectors.

"In view of increasingly complex clinical scenarios, having comprehensive patient information is becoming a key factor in modern patient care," says Jürgen Peters, director of the Clinic for Anesthesiology and Intensive Care at the University Hospital of Essen. The clinic is the first in the world to install M540 monitors, according to Drager.

The seamless monitoring and recording of a patient's vital signs seems like an obviously important task to get right; in an age where we can virtualize our desktops and roll dice with a flick of our cell phones, it's about time the technology for this catches up.