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Part of Western Governors University

March 1, 2019

Nursing & Healthcare

7 nursing technologies transforming patient care.

Emergency sign

Nursing profession widely agrees new medical technologies help with patient care.

From pizza ordering to financial security, new technology is changing the way we live our lives every day. And now more than ever before, new technology is finding ways to impact the healthcare industry.

A new survey of over 600 professional nurses found that 82% agree that new technology and equipment innovation will positively impact patient care.

As more of the population ages, as life expectancy increases, and as the nursing shortage continues, these new medical technologies are crucial for continued patient care, and the health care system at large.

The nursing profession finds many of these new medical technologies help them with routine processes, and can decrease human mistakes and errors that can come from too few nurses, working long hours, with too many patients.

While nurses agree that new healthcare technology and innovative medical devices can help them, they are also largely in agreement that technology shouldn’t replace day-to-day human interactions. Working directly with patients is a huge element of healthcare, and nurses provide a crucial element of interaction that allows patients to feel at ease.

Working with families, explaining procedures, and helping to take a patient’s mind off of their sickness are all part of nursing jobs. Many healthcare professionals worry that increased healthcare technology could try to remove that human element.

Unlike other sectors, the human interaction in healthcare is crucial for patient success. It’s critical to find the right balance between technology and the human nuances that make nursing and healthcare successful.

Professionals also largely agree there shouldn’t be an over-reliance on healthcare software and technology, and that human eyes on symptoms and needs should be as important as what healthcare technology is saying.

While technological advancements aren’t a cure-all as healthcare solutions, new technology is changing the way nurses work in positive ways.

There are 7 stand out technologies transforming medical care, and as nurses are educated about new medical technologies and practices, patients and providers benefit.


1. Automated IV pumps.

Automated IV pump

Automated IV pumps control the dosages and drips given to patients. Software and medical tech allows nurses to change the drip amounts and medication doses so patients aren’t waiting for changes.

There are IV pumps for nutrition, which gives needed meals at the right times. Additionally, there are self-pumps which allow patients to increase a controlled amount of pain medication for themselves.

Automated IV pumps help speed up nursing processes, and can be crucial if there is a need for immediate adjustment. Changing medication through an automated process also removes elements of human error that could present issues for clinical patients and hospitals.

Automated IV kits give nurses opportunities to focus on other areas of work, instead of having to measure and give medication or food.

Hospitals all have different kinds of automated IV pumps, so training and education is often based on the specific hospital or clinic where nurses work.

Additionally, many nursing schools give training and information on new software and technology, including how automated IV pumps work and why they are valuable.


2. Portable monitors.

Portable monitor equipment allows nursing professionals to check up on patients even if they are on the move, or busy helping someone else.

Portable devices monitor vital signs like ECG, respiratory rates, and oxygen saturations while transmitting the information back to a central monitor. This means that nurses will get an alarm notification if there is any emergency.

Most hospitals have nurses check on levels hourly. Portable monitoring technology allows nurses to track and note stats at the right time, even if there are a lot of other things going on.

This helps patients be constantly monitored from anywhere in the hospital, and the alerts and alarms  sent to nurses through the portable monitor can save lives.

Nurses learn at their specific hospital how to utilize portable monitors, and nursing schools help teach students the value and general use of many common pieces of equipment.

Medical technology smart beds

3. Smart beds.

Smart bed technology can help nurses track movement, weight, and even vitals.

Smart beds also play a major role in keeping patients safe and comfortable during a long hospital stay. With the number of falls and patient injuries inside hospitals, smart beds are very important for patient safety.

Smart bed technology gives nurses a constant monitor in a room that provides them with regular updates and communications on a patient’s activities. It can also help them identify patterns, which can lead to a new diagnosis or a different understanding of a condition.

Nurses also spend less time coming in and adjusting supplies and medical equipment for comfort or safety, because they can help control that with their smart bed. It allows providers to get back to other important work that needs to be done by humans.


4. Wearable devices.

Wearable devices and mobile apps are transforming the healthcare industry. Devices that help track heart rates, exercise, sleep, respiration, and more, are helping people take their health into their own hands.

With increased accessibility to iPhones, nurses also benefit from apps and devices that help them care for patients. For example, the Steth IO smartphone stethoscope is essentially a stethoscope app that allows nurses and doctors to simply use their smartphone to get breathing sounds and see heart rates. Using a phone can be less intimidating, especially for younger patients, and gives providers a full range of information and easy tracking of medical needs.

Wearable devices from health tracking, to specific patient monitoring, are often called the future of healthcare. With access to huge amounts of data, wearable devices can help the entire healthcare process; from diagnosis to recovery.

Wearable devices help remove elements of human error for nurses, because the communication of data comes directly from the device itself. It allows for faster record keeping, and helps patients and nurses maintain consistent monitoring of health.


5. Electronic health records.

Electronic health records (EHR) are taking over older paper filing methods. Electronic health records allow nursing experts to document care provided to patients, and retrieve information that can help prioritize care. Additionally information entered into computer systems, can then be accessed by the care team, including doctors and even patients themselves when necessary.

While security continues to be a concern for electronic health records HIPAA laws ensure security and privacy of electronic records are maintained by healthcare organizations, and new technology like blockchain and cryptography are easing privacy concerns.

EHR’s can tell registered nurses (RNs) whether steps still need to be taken for a patient, can monitor small condition changes, and can give them information immediately as alerts or reminders.

Real-time health updates impact the speed and accuracy of medical care. RNs learn how to use software systems on the job, but their education and training will help them quickly understand what different indications on medical records mean, and what their course of action should be; to ensure improved patient outcomes.


6. Centralized command centers.

One of the newest ideas for hospitals, centralized command centers, promise improved patient experiences and better ways for RNs and doctors to manage supplies, clinical technology, and capacity. This is done through software applications such as dashboards that provide real-time updates for an organization.

With shorter or non-existent delays between transitions of care, nurses and doctors can actively be aware of room availability, OR schedules, and what individual patients still need in order to be discharged. This allows everyone to do their job more efficiently, and help patients more effectively.

Specifically designed for capacity management, command centers being piloted around the country are performing well. Many hospitals report operating at higher capacity, and overall improved patient experiences.

Smart phone telehealth

7. Telehealth and apps.

Telehealth is a new and valuable element in healthcare. Hospitals and clinics allow patients to virtually video-chat with a doctor or nurse. Patients are able to describe their symptoms, or show doctors things like rashes or bumps.

This allows patients to quickly be diagnosed, without leaving the comfort of their own home. They can be told if they need to come in for further testing or diagnosis, be prescribed medicine, or given medical advice.

Telehealth saves patients and doctors alike money and time. Similarly, it prevents sick patients from coming to public places, and exposing other patients. This technology is changing the way clinics operate and how patients are cared for.

Similarly, medical apps and wearables help patients and doctors work to improve health. Doctors and nurses can monitor vital signs of patients without them being in the office. They can be utilized for overall health and wellness, or for specific medical concerns such as seizures or diabetes.

Similarly, apps can help patients understand when they should call a doctor, and when a simple over-the-counter medication could help. This again conserves resources in clinics, and helps patients save time and frustration.

Mental health issues can also be addressed with the help of apps. Mindfulness apps help individuals understand their mental health and energy, and remind them to take time for these important aspects of wellness.

Increasing app and telehealth technology gives doctors, nurses, and patients themselves, more control over their health.


Nursing education

Nursing education.

New clinical healthcare technology is exciting and transformative for healthcare. With new innovations impacting the industry every day, now is the perfect time to advance your nursing career.

An online university like WGU can help you get the training you need to advance your career, or even start out as a registered nurse in some states. You have the ability to go to school while continuing to work at your job, so you don’t miss a beat and can still meet your responsibilities as a breadwinner for your family.

Using software for online college programs will help you be more comfortable with the computer skills required by advances in health IT (health information technology), and the flexibility to do coursework on your schedule will help you keep your life on track.

Competency-based education (CBE) means you can take your work experience and use it to help you move faster through courses where you already have knowledge and experience.

As new technology changes the field, you need to change with it. Earning a degree will help you be prepared to take on new roles and be qualified for the responsibilities that are coming your way.

An online nursing program is the perfect way to get started on the path to an innovative future.


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