This question (or its variants) resurfaces periodically:  "What is the recommended ratio of cardiac monitor technicians to the number of monitors they can safely watch?"
I thought I would share the results of my recent search in case in might be of use to others.

Bottom line: there is no guideline, best practice or recommendation as far as I can find.

And there is not much recent literature on the topic either.  Here is what I found:
PMID 27483066, 25746509, 21457122

Methodist Health System newsletter July-August 2014:
"Maximum ratio of monitored patients to telemetry techs not to exceed 1-to-40"

This blog post (1-28-14) says:
The number of patients that can be monitored or observed by a single monitoring tech can vary from 24 to 60. There is no standard or widely accepted "best practice" for the ratio of patient to monitor techs. The number of patients watched by a monitoring tech is influenced by the skill and experience of the individual techs, along with unit census. Patient acuity or their unique physiological condition can also drive the ratio of patients to monitoring tech. Due to an unknown perverse confluence of patient condition and arrhythmia analysis algorithms, an occasional patient will generate almost continual false/positive arrhythmia alarms. Finally, much of this variability depends on the patient monitoring system in use and how many patient's can be displayed and viewed at a workstation. Workstations typically have from 4 to 6 displays.

Article about PMID 25746509:

Monitor manufacturing company communication:
"...national staffing standards for medical/surgical units with telemetry monitoring are higher than those of unmonitored medical/surgical units.  For example, in California, the nurse-to-patient ratio for telemetry patients is 1:4, while for 'unmonitored' medical/surgical beds, it is 1:5."

California RN staffing law

Brynn Beals, MLS, AHIP
Library Program Manager

St. Joseph Medical Center
1717 S. J Street, Tacoma, WA 98405 | MS 01-62
P 253.426.6778 | I 127.6778 | F 253.426.6260
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