Skip to content Skip to Live Chat
Close Nav

Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

March 1, 2021

Nursing & Healthcare

Seven Nursing Technologies Transforming Patient Care

Emergency sign

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.

How Do Nursing Technologies Help Patients?

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 healthcare system at large. New medical technologies can make life easier for medical professionals and patients alike. Certain technologies can make patient care easier and more efficient for the doctors and nurses who manage a large patient load. They can also assist patients in getting the care they need with more convenient and accessible options.

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

While nurses agree that new healthcare technology and innovative medical devices can help them, they also agree 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 their sickness are all part of nursing jobs. Many healthcare professionals worry that increased healthcare technology could try to remove that human element. Unlike in other sectors, healthcare’s human interaction 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 overreliance on healthcare software and technology, and that human eyes on both 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 seven stand-out technologies transforming medical care. As nurses are educated about new medical technologies and practices, patients and providers benefit.

So, what nursing technologies are being used?

1. Automated IV Pumps

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 that give needed meals at the right times. Additionally, there are self-pumps that 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’re valuable.

2. Portable Monitors

Portable monitor equipment allows nursing professionals to check on patients, even if they’re 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’s an emergency.

Most hospitals have nurses check 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 them constantly monitor patients from anywhere in the hospital. 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 in-room monitor 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 only humans can do.

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.

They also 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.

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 replacing 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.

EHRs can tell registered nurses (RNs) whether there are further steps they need to take for a patient, monitor small condition changes, and 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.

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 before being discharged. This allows everyone to do their job more efficiently and help patients more effectively.

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

Smart phone telehealth

7. Telehealth and Apps

Telehealth is a valuable, newer element in healthcare. Hospitals and clinics allow patients to virtually video chat with a doctor or nurse to describe their symptoms or show doctors things like rashes or bumps. This helps patients with a quick diagnosis without leaving the comfort of their own home. They can find out if they need to come in for further testing or diagnosis, get a prescription for medicine, or get medical advice.

Telehealth saves both patients and doctors 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. Apps can also 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.

Apps can also help address mental health issues. 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, with innovations launching every day that impact the industry. This can present a challenge to nurses who are tasked with learning about this new technology and implementing it into their work lives—not to mention, how this can impact their career advancement.

With the advancements of new technology in the healthcare industry, it’s crucial for nurses to keep abreast of these innovations and elevate their capabilities to match what both patients and the industry require for exceptional care. Education is key to navigating these new waters.

Whether you’re already an RN and looking to advance your career, or you’re transitioning into a nursing position and need the educational support to make your career leap, working with an online university such as WGU can help you get the training you need with flexible coursework that can fit in with your busy schedule. Not only can furthering your education help you become more comfortable in managing the technological needs of the advancing healthcare industry, but you can also learn to prepare yourself for future advancements and innovations that may impact your role as a nurse.

As the healthcare industry continues to change with the support of new technology, nurses can change right along with it—and elevate patient care in the process.

Share this:

One online university. Four colleges. Flexible degrees.

Our focus on your success starts with our focus on four high-demand fields: K–12 teaching and education, nursing and healthcare, information technology, and business. Every degree program at WGU is tied to a high-growth, highly rewarding career path. Which college fits you?

Want to see all the degrees WGU has to offer? View all degrees