December 2019 DOI:10.33940/biomed/2019.12.4
A Brief Analysis of Telemetry–Related Events
​​Author Biographies


Elizabeth Kukielka, Patient Safety Authority
Elizabeth Kukielka ( is a patient safety analyst on the Data Science and Research team at the Patient Safety Authority. Before joining the PSA, she was a promotional medical writer for numer-ous publications, including Pharmacy Times and The American Journal of Managed Care. Kukielka also worked for a decade as a community pharmacist and pharmacy manager, with expertise in immunization delivery, diabetes management, medication therapy management, and pharmacy compounding.

Kelly R. Gipson, Patient Safety Authority
Kelly R. Gipson is a project manager at the Patient Safety Authority. She started with the PSA as a patient safety liaison for the South Central region of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the PSA, she worked as the associate patient safety officer at WellSpan York Hospital in York, Pennsylvania. Her clinical background includes experience in medical/surgical, critical care, and recovery room settings, as well as on multiple hospitalwide shared decision-making committees.

Rebecca Jones, Patient Safety Authority
Rebecca Jones is director of Data Science and Research at the Patient Safety Authority, where she also founded and serves as director of the Center of Excellence for Improving Diagnosis. Her previous roles at the PSA include director of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, and regional patient safety liaison. Before joining the PSA, Jones served in various roles leading patient safety efforts and proactively managing risk in healthcare organizations. She currently is chair of the Practice Committee of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis.


Successful telemetry monitoring relies on timely clinician response to potentially life-threatening cardiac rhythm abnormalities. Breakdowns in the processes and procedures associated with telemetry monitoring, as well as improperly functioning telemetry monitoring equipment, may lead to events that compromise patient safety. An analysis of reports submitted to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS) from January 2014 through December 2018 identified 558 events specifically involving interruptions or failures associated with telemetry monitoring equipment or with the healthcare providers responsible for setting up and maintaining proper functioning of that equipment. The analysis highlighted a steady increase in the quantity of event reports associated with telemetry monitoring submitted to PA-PSRS. User errors accounted for nearly half (47.1%, 263 of 558) of events in the analysis. The most common event subtypes included: errors involving batteries in telemetry monitoring equipment (14.0%); errors in which patients were not connected to telemetry monitoring equipment as ordered (12.9%); errors involving broken, damaged, or malfunctioning telemetry monitoring equipment (10.9%); and errors in which patients were connected to the wrong telemetry monitoring equipment (9.0%).

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