Vital signs monitors and spot monitors: what’s the difference?

Patient monitoring is an essential part of your patient’s experience in your clinic.

All medical specialties, from GPs to Cardiologists and OBGYNs to Pediatricians, rely on clinically precise and accurate patient data. Information like vital signs is critical in planning and monitoring treatments, evaluating progression of illnesses and other clinical tasks.

In conversation, we distinguish between a spot monitor and a vital signs monitor. So what are the actual differences?


A spot monitor takes a single vital signs measurement and provides a ‘snapshot’ of your patient’s condition at a given time. Spot monitors can include features like pulse oximetry, non-invasive blood pressure measurement and thermometry, which is available in multiple formats (infrared, oral or axillary).

Advanced Instrumentations VS3000 Spot Monitor

Spot monitors do not continuously monitor vital signs. They take a single measurement when instructed to do so. Most common clinical use cases are patient check-ups and initial consultations.

Often spot monitors boast a variety of mounting options – for example, the VS3000 from Advanced Instrumentations has a mobile trolley with a generous basket for ancillaries. Some of these devices can integrate with EMR / Patient Record systems.


Vital signs monitors, compared to their cousins spot monitors, offer continuous patient monitoring.

Riester RVS-100 Vital Signs Monitor

These are essential for clinical situations such as surgical procedures, post-operative observation, intensive care and monitoring during IV medication administration or dialysis. Often vital signs monitors will give off audible alarms to help staff recognize when parameters hit critical levels.

Vital signs monitors often have more powerful features for patient monitoring, like ECG and invasive blood pressure monitoring. They also often seamlessly integrate with EMR/Patient Record systems.

Dan Mackie is the Senior Clinical Sales Lead at Lighthouse Medical Supplies – offering Bermudian & Caribbean clinical professionals tailored solutions & value-added products to their workflow.

He can be contacted by e-mail ( or phone/WhatsApp : 441-705-5483