Industries across the board have all been visited by the current wave of technology inventions. In the current space, the most recent innovations have been in the fields of data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics. Some other technologies have been existent for some time such as teleconferencing, high-end software designs, and smart mechanics.
The nursing scope can tell of the monumental role played by these technologies. Patient-centered care has been empowered, quality of healthcare boosted, and caregivers’ work made easier. Let’s look at some of those technologies and their impacts:
Technology in Nursing
- Electronic Health Records and Predictive Analytics
Data collection has been made easier, with records from past and present patients providing big data opportunities. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are miles superior to the ancient paper records used in the recent past. Streamlined user interfaces allow quick registration of patients complete with all their medical and demographic details. The data collected equips a connected technology – Predictive Analytics.
Data from past patients is used to appropriate quick judgement for the disease and prescribe solutions and medication. In addition, the big data collected from these records have been used during epidemics to combat pandemics across large populations.
- Smart Beds Technology
Beds are equipped with sensors to check on the mobility and progress of the patient. Smart beds monitor the patient’s weight and other vital signs.
With the high cases of patient falls and injuries, smart beds have come to provide a clinical solution by sending information of any movements and changes in position of the patient to the nurse. This technology also joins the many others in reducing the time required for caregiver’s personal attention, ultimately increasing nurses’ work rate.
- Automated Drips
Nurses are able to remotely control the amount of dosage transfused to a patient using the automated IV pump. Attendants set a specific amount of nutrients, medicine, or water to be administered to the patient, and the automated pump will do the rest in controlling the dosage.
The drips also employ monitoring technology that checks the patient’s vitals and responds relevantly. In the recent versions of this technology, patients are able to control pain-relieving drip medication according to their levels of pain.
- Smart Wearable Devices
Just like we have smart watches checking body temperature and blood pressure, this technology has now been introduced in the healthcare industry. Patients are strapped with wearable devices that use body contact to check vital signs in the patient including oxygen saturation, ECG, and respiratory rates.
The signals spare hospital staff the trouble of taking blood samples for lab tests every time they require to check patient’s vitals. Talk of healthcare undergoing a revolution.
- Clinical Mobility
Smart mobile devices like tablets and smartphones have been introduced into the health industry to bring the much-needed mobility. Nurses can now check the patient’s vitals from afar, study the patient information while on the move, and monitor the patient’s progress while attending to other patients.
Mobile monitors are placed at different regions and are used to provide staff with quick information while on their duties. Some hospitals have central command centers where all these technologies are merged and the data stored and full-house service delivery monitored from the centers.
The advent of COVID-19 introduced a new problem, that of limited interaction no matter the field. One of the technologies that bloomed during that period was teleconferencing. Even in healthcare, providers tried as much to reduce patient interaction as possible, and this was made seamless through telemedicine.
The technology has been carried on to date and has proven itself in the test of time. Doctors and caregivers are now attending to patients via teleconferencing, giving consultations and professional guidance seamlessly.
- Remote Patient Monitoring
Teleconferencing, streamlined user interfaces, quick messaging, and other impersonal technologies have expanded the scope of healthcare beyond in-house physical attention. Some hospitals have employed a blended physical-remote approach to medicine, while others have taken up the niche to offer exclusively remote healthcare.
This way, patients without the financial or physical strength to attend clinics can do so via online programs. Remote patient monitoring has all the benefits to the health facilities, such that there are reduced infrastructural requirements, less staff demand, and an increased work rate.
Experience and skills can fetch quality care, but there can be no assurances on the accuracy of that care. Robotics technology has come to close that gap, providing precision medicine with an almost zero margin of error. In surgery, minimally-invasive robots have been used to conduct operations with high precision requirements. Thanks to this technology, delicate procedures like heart surgeries are now feasible with much confidence.
Robotics have also been applied in service delivery, engaging patients in clinical interviews, delivering supplies, and assisting patients with mobility.
- Social Media
We cannot leave behind the most obvious of technology that sweeps through a large part of the world’s population. Social media has brought together professionals from multiple and similar disciplines, creating a pool of information that beats everything else.
Nurses share their own experiences, dish out professional advice, and ask any questions with a surety of getting not just the correct answers but also different personal perspectives. In the overall field of healthcare, patients get access to information that could be so troubling to get in an otherwise non-digital ecosystem.
- Virtual and Augmented Reality
Lastly, we have virtual reality (VR) as the most recent innovation that has been barely tapped. Virtual reality is mainly considered entertaining, but there’s so much to it when it’s applied in multiple industries. In healthcare, virtual reality provides near-to real simulations that are excellent for learning and professional simulation exercises. Aside from that, patients are strapped with virtual reality googles to destruct their minds during a pain-staking procedure. The technology is new and there is really more to come in the field of healthcare.
Technology and innovation have been brilliant for the world, but not everyone gives it approval. There are many concerns with labor-market disruption, data privacy, and im-personalization of care with robotics. These concerns are well-deserved, but they have not impeded innovation for a second. Healthcare providers are responsible with embracing these technologies, for they not only serve the good of patient through quality care, but also expanded healthcare provision to greater populations.