Nursing In the Digital Age: How Technology Is Shaping Modern Caregiving & the Health-Care Industry by 30Seconds Mom

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2 months ago

Nursing In the Digital Age: How Technology Is Shaping Modern Caregiving & the Health-Care Industry

It would be rare to find an industry that has remained unchanged by the leaps and bounds technology has taken during the digital age, and the health-care industry is no exception. Technological advancements have resulted in rapid changes to traditional processes and practices among nurses, and these changes continue to occur every day.

Whether you are a seasoned nursing veteran, a nurse taking your first step onto the career ladder or a fresh college student studying a DNP program online, continuous learning and growth are now the name of the game. From increasing efficiency and productivity to revolutionizing the entire patient-care experience, let's examine the amazing benefits technology has gifted the health-care industry and review how it is shaping modern caregiving.

Patient Care

Patient care remains the top priority for most health-care professionals. As such, a wide array of new technologies have entered the foray to improve the day-to-day tasks nurses face relating to patient care including administering medication, monitoring symptoms and determining health-care plans.

Enhanced Diagnosis 

Health-care providers are already beginning to introduce Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the diagnostic toolkit, owing to its massive potential. AI algorithms can be used to analyze patient data including past history and recent scans or imaging to help build a report that identifies care recommendations, highlight potential risks, make predictions about a patient’s health trajectory and create personalized treatment plans – all at the click of a button.

Technology can also considerably reduce the likelihood of error when it comes to logging patient data like allergies or pre-existing health conditions, as the method of data entry is much simpler and less prone to human error.

These two benefits combined may help improve health outcomes for patients and reduce the risk of error in the diagnosis process.

Enhanced Decision-making

AI again hits the mark when it comes to improving decision-making. Manual risk calculation has been a part of the health-care industry for decades, but with the introduction of AI a health-care professional can generate predictions and suggestions with far greater accuracy.

AI can also break down large data sets to generate accurate modeling with ease, which can help with predictive and preventative care planning.

Patient Monitoring 

“Making the rounds” is no longer as vital for nurses as it once was with the introduction of portable monitoring. Portable monitors allow nurses the freedom to check on patients’ vitals quickly while on the go, including reviewing respiratory rates, electrocardiography and oxygen levels. Nurses may also receive an alert if a patient needs urgent attention, which can significantly reduce response times and provide better outcomes for the patient.

Nurses also no longer need to closely monitor patient IVs in person. Smart pumps allow for accurate and efficient administration of fluid or medication, and nurses can even preemptively set up how much a patient needs to receive while receiving alerts if they have a poor reaction or issues with tubing.

By providing continuous reporting on a patient and alerting them when human intervention is required, a nurse may improve their capacity and maximize their time so more patients can be cared for simultaneously. Technology will continue to enhance a nurse’s ability to provide quality patient care.

"Smart" Equipment 

Alongside smart pumps is another equipment-based technology: the smart bed. In the past decade, medical beds have been significantly impacted by technological advances to the point they allow nurses to monitor a patient’s weight, movement and vitals, and even utilize wireless sensor networks (WSNs) that have led to a seamless and efficient solution to avoid bedsores in motion-impaired patients.

Smart beds can reduce the time nurses spend adjusting equipment, giving more time back in their day to tend to other patient care, and can help to provide even more accurate diagnostics for treatment.

Reduction in Administrative Load

With a health-care professional’s primary focus squarely on patient care, any time saved on other duties such as administrative tasks can help free their schedule and allow them to spend more time on patient diagnosis and care.

Business Workflows

Documentation and maintaining records are a key part of a nurse’s or health-care professional's duty. Utilizing smart technologies or AI to automate routine tasks such as optimizing assignments, scheduling workloads or work rosters via algorithms built on past behavior, or even simply accessing voice assistance systems for faster input of data can save precious time for a health-care professional that can instead be used to focus on direct patient care.

Even accessing a patient health-care record – which not so long ago was a very manual task – is a breeze these days with digital copies readily accessible and updated in real-time. In a world where a moment can be the difference between life and death, these advances can, literally be, life-savers.

Telehealth and Remote Patient Care

The COVID-19 epidemic hit the health-care industry hard, however out of the dark came a shining beacon of light. In the past, an appointment with your health-care professional meant a physical visit. Post COVID-19 however, there has been a significant rise in acceptance of telehealth and remote patient consultations.

This has been made possible by advancing technologies such as video conferencing tools that can help assess physical conditions remotely, apps that allow for email or SMS referrals and prescriptions, and even simply the general acceptance that sometimes, a refill prescription does not necessitate a physical visit to a health-care facility.

In providing health care from the comfort of one’s own home, health-care facilities are seeing a reduction in admissions and the administrative work that goes alongside it. Technology will continue to positively impact the healthcare industry.

Looking Into the Future

From now and into the foreseeable future, technology will continue to shift the "norm" in the health-care industry. New and exciting tools and methods will be developed and applied to the nursing profession, and nurses will need to change right alongside it.

With such incredible benefits, health-care professionals should actively participate in its development and adoption. Strong leaders who advocate for the best technology has to offer will help reduce time-consuming routine tasks and improve on and benefit the people who matter most in this industry – the patients.

Note: The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Donna John
Fascinating! Technology has come a long way in the medical field. Such an interesting read.
Elisa Schmitz
The advances in nursing and healthcare have been nothing short of amazing. Can’t imagine what going through the pandemic would’ve been like without telehealth, for example. Thank you for this great info!

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