Targeting both acute care and alternate care markets, Philips introduced the SureSigns VS3 vital signs monitor today (press release). The new monitor builds on their new line of low acuity patient monitors, the VM 4, 6 and 8.

The SureSigns VS3 provides easy access to patient information
using innovative pop-up screens, fixed keys and icon-based menus. The
full-color, back-lit screen displays large, easy-to-read numerals that
are especially helpful when viewing from a distance or in low light
situations. The screen also provides clinicians with the choice of
viewing scrollable stored patient records and an optional Sp02
waveform. SureSigns VS3 measurements include non-invasive blood
pressure, pulse oximetry, pulse rate and temperature. With
programmable non-invasive blood pressure capabilities, users can
create up to five different programs to monitor non-invasive blood
pressure at particular intervals based on unit-specific protocols.

The SureSigns VS3's standard lithium ion battery and AC power cord
clip enhance battery operation and charging performance. Software
upgrades are remarkably quick and easy via the USB port and patient
data transfer is enabled with HL7 data output through an Ethernet
connection. In addition, an optional bar code scanner capable of
reading both one and two-dimensional bar codes makes patient ID entry
fast and accurate. The innovative design also makes the SureSigns VS3
monitor easy to support. Replacement parts are compatible with the
SureSigns VM monitors to help streamline parts inventory management
and repair.

The press release brags on the new 8.4" color LCD, compared to the much smaller and purpose-built user interfaces found on spot vital signs monitors from, well, everyone else (GE Dynamap, Datascope Accutorr and Duo, Welch Allyn Spot, and Philips VS1). My guess is that Philips was tired of selling a vital signs monitor they OEM'd from someone else - the VS1 is from Colin. That plus the VS1 lacked network connectivity which was probably hurting competitively.

The VS3 sports an Ethernet port and has HL7 output from the device - another feature shared with the VM product line. Spot vital signs capture entails pushing the monitor from patient to patient several times a day to take readings. Given the inherently mobile nature of the task (compared to an ICU patient connected to a wall mounted patient monitor), it's disappointing there is no wireless capability on the VS3. Rolling the VS3 into a corner to recharge while you download data over a hardwired Ethernet connection will work, but will be a source of frustration for many customers. I can just imagine were staff grabs the pole mounted VS3 and takes off for their first reading, ripping the Ethernet cable and wall plate out of the wall (not to mention possibly damaging the VS3). The unit can store an impressive 400 readings in batch mode. And the onboard barcode reader is also pretty cool.

The features described imply a continuous spot monitoring use case, where a patient is hooked up "to monitor non-invasive blood
pressure at particular intervals based on unit-specific protocols." Given this device's heritage and the continuous monitoring use case, I would expect the device to have local alarm annunciation. To capture this data into an electronic medical record would require an available Ethernet port in each patient room.