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Pulse Oximetry - Order by Physician/Licensed Practitioner

Is a Physician/Licensed Practitioner's order required for the use of a pulse oximeter?  

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

The Joint Commission standards do not require an order for pulse oximetry.  In addition, CMS does not have any requirements which prohibit the use of pulse oximetry without a physician's order.

The use of pulse oximetry on a PRN basis may be viewed as a part of vital signs.  A therapist or nurse can use their clinical judgment to do an occasional pulse oximetry reading, and that would not need to be on the POC. However, if it is a regular part of their care, the nurse/therapist should put it on the POC/485.  For example, in the case of a patient with known cardiopulmonary disease when pulse oximetry is being used for ongoing monitoring this should be included on the patient's plan of care.
Manual: Home Care
Chapter: Provision of Care Treatment and Services PC
Last reviewed by Standards Interpretation: November 23, 2022 Represents the most recent date that the FAQ was reviewed (e.g. annual review).
First published date: April 11, 2016 This Standards FAQ was first published on this date.
This page was last updated on November 23, 2022 with update notes of: Review only, FAQ is current Types of changes and an explanation of change type: Editorial changes only: Format changes only. No changes to content. | Review only, FAQ is current: Periodic review completed, no changes to content. | Reflects new or updated requirements: Changes represent new or revised requirements.
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