Technology has changed our lives in numerous ways and is gradually spreading its roots into all sectors.
Innovations like electronic record keeping, virtual reality treatments, electronic devices, artificial intelligence, among others, have diverse uses and have infiltrated nearly everything.
The medical landscape, in particular, has seen a tremendous change because of technological development.
A survey of 600 nurses concluded 82% believed that technology positively impacts their healthcare service provision.
Today the healthcare sector uses robust computer systems for documentation and staff management, keeping track of patient records, and saving medical profiles.
Telehealth networks have expanded, and virtual reality facilitates patient education. More than 95% of the hospitals in the United States were using Electronic Medical Record systems (EMRs) by 2017.
Much of the manual work is replaced by technology, bringing numerous benefits for nurses. Some of these benefits are discussed below.
1. Telehealth nursing makes patient care more efficient and convenient
Traditionally, telehealth is referred to as service provision over the phone; today, telehealth has come to mean something much broader.
Nurses can now monitor their patients through computers and audio-visual equipment even when not at their bedside. Portable monitors allow them to watch their patient’s vitals like heartbeat and oxygen levels.
If there’s a problem, they get an alert. They can also use web cameras, telephones, and the internet to communicate with patients over long distances.
Nurses should be well-trained in necessary technological equipment, whether for treatment interventions, telehealth, or documenting patient health information.
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2. Technology has enabled better performance analysis in the organization
Performance analysis and quality checks are crucial in ensuring efficient patient care in a healthcare organization.
Today, numerous devices and programs are designed to monitor staff performance and patient care quality.
With health information technology, you can compute past performance and generate ideas about treatment decisions based on this. A system can be designed to get anonymous patient feedback. Nurses can also maintain a competitive advantage to support new scientific advancements in healthcare through operational resilience.
So, cohesively, organizations can conduct accurate efficiency analysis through software designed to monitor employees and collect feedback.
3. Telehealth and information technology reduces the length of stay at the hospital
Telehealth and virtual care have allowed nurses to keep track of patient conditions after leaving the hospital.
This means patients can be discharged early but still monitored. Healthcare providers can address the gaps in follow-up checks and lower readmissions.
As for health information, research shows that, on average, you can lower the length of patient stay from 5.7 to 5.5 days with Health Information Technology.
4. Health information technology allows for coordinated patient care
Health information technology, including Electronic Health Records (EHR), has made patient care much more coordinated.
Different healthcare providers and nurses can access patient information simultaneously with electrical information systems.
So now everyone involved in a patient’s care can record, share, update information simultaneously and post their findings.
EHR alerts can inform healthcare providers that a patient has entered the facility, and they can respond immediately for follow-up treatment.
EHR technology is instrumental where several professionals evaluate patients in emergencies or change care settings.
With one common platform for storing all patient records, unnecessary tests and medical errors can be avoided.
5. Telehealth addresses the shortage of healthcare workers in remote areas
Many rural communities were previously unable to access professional medical help because of the geographical distance from healthcare facilities.
Communities that have to travel long distances to access facilities prefer telehealth, although it does not allow face-to-face interaction.
A study showed that 76% of the respondents considered healthcare access more important than face-to-face interaction with healthcare providers.
With telehealth, nurses and doctors can access those geographically remote areas to their patients over the internet or by telephone. People in rural areas can now contact professionals over the phone and receive care.
This reduces hospital admissions and ER visits in the long run. It also saves them a great deal of time and effort and saves money on traveling.
In short, telehealth allows remote areas with a shortage of healthcare workers to access professional help through virtual means.
6. It reduces the chances of human errors and improves patient safety
Research suggests that around 98,000 lives are lost annually due to medical mistakes, and nearly one-quarter of all outpatients suffer at the hands of some medical error.
That sure is alarming because if we can’t trust our healthcare providers? However, many such errors have been reduced today with the help of technology.
Consider the following medical error that a medical professional makes during surgery. Someone might accidentally leave a surgical sponge inside a patient during surgery, which causes immense pain, infection, and death.
Today, the old radio frequency identification (RFID) technology helps avoid this grave mistake.
Surgical sponges are bar-coded, and RFID is used to scan the patient’s body to identify the location of the sponge if any.
7. Smart beds improve the quality and efficiency of patient care
The creative innovation of smart beds has revolutionized patient care; these beds can take patient vitals, weight, movements, etc., and reduce the need for separate equipment for these purposes.
These beds are designed in ways to prevent bedsores and avoid injuries. For nurses, this saves them the time they would otherwise spend adjusting the equipment or moving the patient.
Technological advances have been a tremendous help to healthcare providers, especially nurses. Telehealth has also reduced the length of hospital stays and made services available to those previously deprived of them due to geographical distances.
Health information technology has allowed medical institutions to avoid medical errors and increase patient care quality through technology.
Because of the tremendous impact technology has had on nursing so far, these developments will continue to grow in the future.