Since the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals have leveraged technology to improve patient care. For nursing, in particular, technological advancements have improved efficiency. A survey of 600 nurses found that over 82% believed using technology would positively impact the global healthcare scene. In this article, we will discuss how recent technology revolutionizes nursing by changing how nurses provide care, manage patient information, and conduct research.
How Do Nursing Technologies Help Patients?
In the past few years, the improved standard of living has led to an increase in global life expectancy. With more individuals surviving old age and needing full-time care, there has been a nursing and healthcare crisis all around the globe. That’s where technology comes to the rescue.
Whenever needed, emerging technologies are pivotal in making healthcare more streamlined. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, most nurses continued their education and provided healthcare simultaneously by enrolling in virtual courses and degrees like online DNP family nurse practitioner programs. Due to these programs’ flexibility, nurses, like other learners, prefer online education. In addition, telehealth has become widespread and keeps patients in touch with their doctors and nurses. Overall, technology is helping patients and nurses alike.
However, experts agree that technology is no replacer to human interaction and should only be used to supplement it instead of replacing it. So, nurses must be well-versed in technology and medicine beforehand. The right balance of personalization and technology is crucial to effective patient care, after all.
Emerging Technologies In Nursing
3 stand-out technologies have been making their way into medical practice and patient care. These include automated IV pumps, smart beds, and predictive analytics and AI applications.
1. Automated IV Pumps
One of the many tasks a nurse needs to do for a patient is to replace IVs and ensure patients get the dose they need. While this task is quite simple for a nurse, doing multiple of them manually on a busy ER day can make it tedious and error-prone.
With an automated IV pump, the correct dosage, drip rate, and medications to be administered via IV can be calibrated and set beforehand. The exact mechanism also applies to nutritional pumps, where meals can be delivered on time and accurately when calibrated on the device beforehand. ,
Not only does this help the nurses get through IV replacements more efficiently, but it also keeps patients at ease as they do not have to wait for an IV replacement. They can also manage their IVs once their healthcare professional sets the medication amounts. Considering they’re digital, they also reduce the chances of human error when changing the dose of medication.
Many nursing schools and programs now also provide practical training on using such devices. Overall, automated IV pumps save a lot of time that nurses previously spent manually administering food and medication, helping them focus on more crucial aspects of their patient’s care.
2. Smart Beds
Smart bed technology helps nurses track their patients’ movement, weight, and even vitals instead of doing them manually. These beds can help nurses monitor their patients from afar via regular patient movement and stat updates. Smart beds also have sensors that recognize bed height and side rail movements, which can help prevent patient injury.
Nurses can use the data they gather to observe patterns and collect data about a patient, which may help them diagnose more accurately. When integrated with the central command center, data from the smart beds can simplify the logistics of admissions, patient transfers, discharges. These beds also add to overall automation and save the nurse’s time by adjusting supplies and medical equipment as needed, all while giving them an in-house monitoring mechanism on the patient.
3. Predictive Analytics and AI Applications
Like any other industry, AI has also made its way into healthcare, proving invaluable for nurses. Regarding diagnosis and medical decision-making, AI helps nurses process a large amount of patient data and medical information to help them come to a diagnosis as fast as possible.
Nurses and physicians now have access to medical information all the time and do not have to rely on memory entirely to make medical decisions. That plays a significant role in preventing what is known as ‘information fatigue’ due to processing too much medical knowledge all the time. The role of AI in nursing and clinical diagnosis includes, but is not limited to:
- Rapidly processing massive amounts of patient data and medical information
- Identifying at-risk patients accurately
- Identifying and lobbying for gaps in patient care
- The detection of illness in asymptomatic people
- Prediction of fall risks in patients and preventive measures to take
Based on the latest predictions on the advancing role of AI in nursing, the following five applications of AI are likely to become commonplace by 2026:
- Robot-assisted surgery
- Virtual nursing assistants
- Administrative workflow assistance
- Fraud detection
- Dosage error reduction
How Will Technology Change Nursing in the Future?
Based on the current and forecasted digital advancements in nursing, technology and AI are here to stay in healthcare. Outdated and manual systems are likely to be replaced by automated ones. And since healthcare is just an empty shell without nurses, they’ll play an irreplaceable role in seamlessly incorporating technology into healthcare operations.
While technology will streamline patient care and reduce human errors, it won’t be free of its challenges. These include increased technological expense, more patient load as nurses get through patients faster, cybersecurity and privacy risks, and technology adoption for less technically inclined people. Despite these challenges, embracing new technology and its nursing applications outweigh the cons. Nurses should actively participate in learning and adopting them on the go.
Technological advancements in nursing are exciting and innovative, with new ones coming to light daily. These technologies are meant to supplement the personalization that comes with human interaction by making day-to-day operations as seamless as possible.
Nurses must stay on top of technology trends and usage within their hospitals to ensure they deliver healthcare as effectively as possible. Nursing programs nowadays play a vital role in helping them, though that. Online DNP programs, in particular, are being updated regularly according to the changes in the industry as they come along, making them a popular choice for nurses today. Together with technology, nurses are more equipped to handle healthcare emergencies.