Most veterinary clinics are putting patients under anesthesia each day, which means the staff is constantly monitoring vital signs. And of course, practice teams need accurate, easy-to-use monitoring equipment to support their vigilance against sudden drops in blood pressure, heart rate and other warning signs.
But we also know that many practices may be using older monitoring equipment.
It's not uncommon to walk into a clinic and see systems that have been in service for more than eight or ten years, or even longer! These older systems are undoubtedly less efficient than today's technologies — or worse, may have become less accurate over time.
In addition, some hospitals have been steadily growing but haven't invested in additional monitoring units. They end up sharing one or two units between treatment suites, which is not ideal… especially in emergency situations.
By helping practices upgrade or add today's veterinary anesthesia monitoring systems to their hospitals, you can provide major benefits to them, including enhanced safety and efficiencies.
Start by walking your customers through the various options and benefits to help them choose the perfect equipment for their needs.
First, what exactly are practices monitoring, and why is it important?
- Blood Pressure: It's very important to monitor patients for hypotension (abnormally low blood pressure) during every anesthetic procedure because a sudden drop can be life threatening. The most accurate measure is direct arterial blood pressure. However, most clinics aren’t equipped to monitor invasive blood pressure on every patient. Today's veterinary-specific oscillometric blood pressure technology is easy to use, can be timed to take measurements at selected intervals, and provide automatic readings throughout a procedure with dog and cat algorithms and alarm limits.
- End-Tidal CO2: Practices monitor carbon dioxide in patients to receive early warnings of possible hyperventilation or other problems with the patient and/or anesthesia equipment. "Et CO2" monitoring is the only practical way to detect the effects of hypoventilation and can alert the team of complications before they occur. When choosing an anesthesia monitor with EtCO2 capabilities, look for accuracy at low flow rates as well as durability and low-maintenance features.
- ACVA (American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia) Recommended Parameters: The ACVA recommends monitoring blood pressure and CO2 as mentioned above, but also SpO2 (oxygen saturation levels), ECG/HR (heart rate), and body temperature. The most useful systems offer all these parameters in a single device to reduce clutter and ensure continuity during the anesthetic procedure.
Other factors to help your customers consider
- Versatility: While some clinics prefer dedicated systems for each surgery suite or dental table, many clinics like the flexibility of having a mobile monitor to move throughout the clinic. Ask each practice about their expectations so you can help them consider the various mounted and rolling-stand options offered by manufacturers.
- Ease of use: Today's anesthesia monitoring systems are loaded with practice-friendly features such as quick startup, easy touch screen operation, simple patient setup, user-friendly menu navigation and adjustments… and even custom profiles for individual doctors.
Now that you know what today's advanced anesthesia monitors can do for practices… here are questions to ask your customers during the clinic visit to help them choose the best system for their needs.
You'll want to be prepared to cover the most important factors practices will care about when considering an investment in a vital signs monitor: quality, upgradeability and support. (Most manufacturers will have plenty of literature and support to help you walk customers through their decision-making.)
- How old is your current anesthesia monitoring system?
- (If the practice has grown significantly): Do you currently "share" your equipment with other doctors?
- Do you prefer a stationary system or mobile equipment that can move around the practice?
- Does your current monitor have easy-to-update software?
- How happy are you with the training and support you've received for your current system?
- Do you know if your current system is still under warranty?
- How would it help your practice to have a modern system with greater accuracy and touch-screen ease of use?
This is a great starting point to open the conversation with your customers regarding anesthesia monitoring safety… and perhaps an upgrade to new equipment.
You may also be interested in this Veterinary Advantage article that dives deeper into veterinary anesthesia monitoring equipment.