Original Article

Implementation of a New Guideline and Educational Sessions to Reduce Low-Value Continuous Pulse Oximetry Among Hospitalized Patients

Authors: Scott A. Helgeson, MD, Andree H. Koop, MD, Andrew M. Harrison, PhD, Jordan C. Ray, MD, Gaja F. Shaughnessy, MD, Christopher L. Brett, MD, Lauren F. Cornell, MD, Cammi L. Bowman, MSN, RN, M. Caroline Burton, MD


Objectives: The use of continuous pulse oximetry (CPOX) is ubiquitous among hospitalized patients, despite limited evidence that it improves clinical outcomes. The objective of this study was to reduce the use of CPOX among hospitalized patients in the nonintensive care unit and nonprogressive care unit settings.

Methods: This interventional trial included the creation a new local guideline for CPOX use and subsequent staff education. CPOX use, patient acuity, hospital length of stay, and code blue events were measured before and after the intervention.

Results: Postintervention there was a clinically significant and sustained decrease in CPOX use of 18% over 1 year. There were no significant changes postintervention in hospital length of stay or number of code blue events.

Conclusions: Development of a guideline for CPOX use and staff education successfully led to a decrease in CPOX use, without an increase in hospital length of stay or code blue events.

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