4 Ways Technology Is Affecting American Nurses

pic-1As the use of technology plays a larger role among all industries, health care and nursing are impacted by developments that enable professionals to deliver better service to make patients more comfortable and ultimately lead healthier lives, while improving efficiency for caretakers. Everything from online education to the way treatment is administered is now touched by technology. Here are four ways tech advancements are shaping the future of nursing.

1. Education

The demand for qualified nurses is growing at a much faster rate than other professions, which is causing an increased interest in a career change toward nursing or the desire to study for higher education degrees such as a master of science in nursing while one is already working in the field.

The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook reports the need for registered nurses is expected to increase 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, while the job outlook for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners will increase 31 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Online education helps health care settings fill this demand through flexible class schedules that give students the ability to earn an income while they study and apply practical tips at work if they’re already a health care professional. Education also gets a boost from technology since it allows a wider pool of nurse professionals to become involved in academia if they desire, expanding the reach of qualified professors and mentors for students.

Technology will also achieve more prominence inside the classroom, reports the American Nurses Association, which states simulations in school settings allow for role-playing of real-life situations.

2. On-Demand Nursing

Telemedicine, or on-demand health care that allows professionals to connect with patients digitally, is one of the most significant growing forms in the industry. The 2016 Research and Markets Global Telemedicine Market Outlook 2021 report states the global telemedicine market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 14.77 percent, and is expected to grow to $40.9 billion by 2021, compared to $17.9 billion in 2015. Patients want instantaneous service, especially for ailments that don’t require an emergency room visit.

Nurses are now an integral part of the telemedicine world. Apps like Nurse at Your Door provide 24/7 remote monitoring, video consultations, and house calls by nurses. Platforms that create marketplaces for nurses for patients to choose from are being created by brands like PointNurse. Patients will continue to have more choice in their nurse and the type of care they receive as telemedicine expands.

3. Mobile Electronic Health Records

The use of technology in health data gathering is powering nurses with valuable information that helps them deliver better personalized treatment methods for patients based on medical history. Government-sponsored health information site HealthIT.gov reports that benefits of the use of mobile electronic health records include improve patient care and care coordination, cost savings to health care institutions, and improved diagnostics.

pic-2Nurses are key to the success of electronic health record use in any setting. They are commissioned to play an integral role in the design and implementation of electronic health record use. They are an essential component in updating records with accurate information to ensure patients continue to get excellent future care.

Using a mobile device with health care information on it while working with a patient allows the nurse to deliver better care in the moment and focus on the personal interaction, because they do not have to waste time heading back to a nursing station to access records. Nurses can also use the electronic health record device as a teaching tool to engage patients and explain care concepts.

4. Robotics

Robots used in health care settings are not just helping patients — they are also helping nurses. In cases such as safe patient lifting and moving, the use of a robot to execute these intensive duties also protects nurses from getting injured. A study published in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing states robotics is one of the top trends affecting the nursing industry, as they can provide improved diagnostics and more precise interventions.

In places like Japan, where there is a high ratio of aging patients compared to available nurses, robots are particularly helpful. Technology site ExtremeTech reports a medical robotic assistant named Terapio can assist nurses with tasks ranging from collecting patient data to taking vital signs, which allows nurses to focus more on patient interaction. Using robots in health care settings where there are nursing shortages allows nurses to deliver more accurate and more personalized care.

As technology influences nursing in ways ranging from education to services to patient interaction, high-tech methods will play a more significant role in driving treatment innovation and improving patient well-being. While empathetic caretaking is still a priority in the nursing world, the integration of technology will be used to boost both mental and physical aspects of care.