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Subject: Re: Fetal Heart Monitor Strips
From: Larry Medina <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 20 Oct 2003 08:53:57 -0700
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>Okay, I'll jump in with a couple of naive questions:

They're not naive, they're legitimate...  I'll take a stab at answering
them based on my knowledge of the equipment.

>     Why not scan the strips and/or microfilm them?

Liz Allan says the size of the strips prevent them from being scanned as a
primary option, but I'm not too sure about that.  Many I have seen have
automatic folds on 11" segments, but there would be a problem "seaming" the
images together.  Others, which are in a roll format would be prohibitive
to scan and/or film.

>     Why can't these monitors create electronic files instead of strips?

Some monitors DO create electronic files, but that just poses another
different problem for the storage of the information for long periods of
time.  The data is written in a proprietary format that can only be read
through the machines that generate it (and naturally, that's not saying it
HAS TO BE that way, but it IS that way) and you'd have to keep a machine
around that runs the same version of the software used to capture/generate
it in the first place.

>     Why can't the monitors print on something other than paper they are
>currently on?

I'm sure they can be retrofitted to do this, but the printer is typically
an integral piece of the machine used to capture the data from the
monitor/s.  Hospital emergency and operating rooms are pretty tight for
space, so it's not like they have room to add a cart that would accommodate
an independent printer, and it means another connection is involved
(serial, USB or parallel cable) then there's one more possibility of a failure.

>Is a thermal printer faster?  I just can't
>believe that monitor manufacturers are hopelessly wed to this paper.

I think the issue is convenience more than speed.  The printer cartridge is
internal to the machine collecting the data, so it's easier to deal with
and there's no independent ink, ribbons, etc. to worry about... the print
mechanism is all self-contained.

Larry

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