Pulse oximetry is commonly used for measuring the amount of oxygen in the blood.1 The measurement technology became commercially available in the 1980s2 and with no other technology routinely available for monitoring tissue oxygenation, pulse oximetry monitors and sensors typically found in most operating rooms, med surg floors, and various intensive care units.1,2
With such a presence, it’s important to know what’s included in the costs of implementing a pulse oximetry system or changing to a different brand.
This blog highlights the factors that can influence the cost of a pulse oximetry system. There are a few things to consider before you make your selection:
These questions can help you figure out what equipment is right for your healthcare facility. Also, there are additional things to keep in mind — regarding both a new purchase and long-term use — that could impact the total cost.
This guide will help you breakdown all the factors you need to know.
Related: Learn how we are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s research that shows the cost benefits of using SpO2 to monitor patient respiratory function and safety.
Observational data indicates that anesthetic-related mortality in high-income countries has declined by 64 percent since the 1980s. That’s because monitoring standards, including pulse oximetry, have been widely implemented.3
Patients originating on the general care floor who suffer respiratory events represent a significant economic burden to hospitals.4 Monitoring that offers early alerts to respiratory compromise, such as pulse oximetry in conjunction with end tidal CO2, can help hospital staff intervene faster.
A study on the use of continuous monitoring on the medical-surgical floor showed a significant decrease in length of stay, fewer days in the ICU for patients transferred from the medical-surgical floor and a reduction in the number of code blue events. In fact, the study concludes that the lower rate of code blue events suggests that early alerts and faster intervention could prevent patients from reaching a crisis state.5
Overall the cost of implementing pulse oximetry monitoring should be weighed against the clinical data showing that pulse oximetry monitoring has been associated with a reduction in patient rescue and intensive care unit transfers.6
Related: Learn more about measuring end tidal CO2 with capnography monitoring. Read the blog post.
Pulse oximetry consists of two major components:
Consider the following questions as you evaluate your pulse oximetry equipment needs:
The following summarizes the equipment you should consider if you are at one of the following alternative care sites:
Related: We offer easy-to-use continuous monitoring solutions to help you keep your patients safe. Learn how you can gain more value from your medical devices using Vital Sync™.
It’s important to assess the different patient populations and select the right sensor for those in your care. Costs can change depending on what suits your patient’s needs.
Currently, sensors can cost from up to $15 per patient for disposable or specialty sensors and roughly $70 to $250 for reusable or continuous monitoring sensors. Here are more details:
Use the chart below as a guide for areas of care and patient type.
Related: Download the Sensor Quick Guide to learn more about individual sensors from Medtronic.
Depending on how you answered the questions above and your plan for the sensors, you may need to consider purchasing new monitors. Using multiparameter monitors that your facility already has is also an option.
Most acute care settings use a multiparameter monitor or a stand-alone monitor like the Nellcor™ bedside respiratory patient monitor — as seen in the following sections.
Our Nellcor™ pulse oximetry sensors work with multiparameter monitors (MPMs) like Welch Allen, GE Healthcare, and more — integrating our technology into multiparameter monitors.
If you are considering Nellcor™ sensors for your current MPM(s), you may need to purchase Nellcor™ SpO2 board(s) or an SpO2 module. That will depend on the current technology in the MPM monitor(s) you have.
Costs can vary widely for SpO2 boards and modules, from $900 to $7,000, depending on the monitor and the manufacturer. It’s best to check with the sales representative from the monitor manufacturer for an accurate price range.
If you don’t want to use a multiparameter monitor or need a more portable solution, we offer three stand-alone pulse oximetry monitors:
†Prices may vary based on contractual agreement, volumes, and commitment levels.
Related: For pricing and more information on monitors that measure SPO2 and etCO2, read our blog post.
Once you have reviewed these key points and determined the pulse oximetry equipment needed for your hospital, there are a few other factors to consider that will impact cost.
Yes, it’s important to plan for your pulse oximetry system. The long-term costs should be a part of that plan. Factor in replacement equipment — anticipating when the warranty ends — and recycling the disposable sensors.
Learn more about pulse oximetry. Contact us.
1. Higgins C. Oxygen saturation—better measured than calculated. Acutecaretesting.org. May 2014. Accessed 02/20/19.
2. Witt C. Vital signs are vital. The history of pulse oximetry. ACP Hospitalist. ACPhospitalisty.org. May 2014. Accessed 02/20/19.
3. Burn SL, Chilton PJ, Gawande AA, Lilford RJ. Peri-operative pulse oximetry in low- income countryside: a cost effectiveness analysis. World Health Organization website. Published Sept. 24, 2014. Accessed 2/20/19.
4. Kelley S, Agarwal S, Parikh N, Erslon M, Morris P. 764: Respiratory insufficiency, arrest and failure among medical patients on the general care floor. Crit Care Med. 2012;40(12): 1-328.
5. Brown H, Terrence J, Vasquez P, Bates DW, Zimlichman E. Continuous monitoring in an inpatient medical-surgical unit: a controlled clinical trial. Am J Med. 2014;127(3):226-232.
6. Taenzer AH, Pyke JB, McGrath SP, Blike GT. Impact of pulse oximetry surveillance on rescue events and intensive care unit transfers: a before and after concurrence study. Anesthesiologists. 2010;112(2):282-287.