Although electrocardiographic monitoring is common in hospitalized patients, many patients receive unnecessary monitoring, contributing to patients’ inconvenience, clinicians’ alarm fatigue, and delayed admissions.


To evaluate the impact of implementation of an electronic order set based on the American Heart Association practice standards for electrocardiographic monitoring on the occurrence of appropriate monitoring.


The sample for this preintervention-to-postintervention quasi-experimental study consisted of 297 adult patients on medical, surgical, neurological, oncological, and orthopedic patient care units that used remote electrocardiographic monitoring in a 627-bed hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The intervention was the introduction into the electronic health record of order sets prompting physicians to order electrocardiographic monitoring per the American Heart Association practice standards. Indications for monitoring according to the practice standards and adverse outcomes (unexpected transfer to intensive care unit, death, code blue events, and call for the rapid response team) were compared before and after implementation of the order set.


Implementation of the order set was associated with an increase in appropriate monitoring (48.0% to 61.2%; P = .03); the largest increase was in ordering by medical residents (30.8% to 76.5%; P = .001). No significant increase in adverse patient outcomes was noted.


Implementation of the practice standards via an electronic order set was associated with a statistically significant increase in appropriate monitoring, with no increase in adverse events. Use of electronic order sets is an effective and safe way to enhance appropriate electrocardiographic monitoring.

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