Three Technologies Changing Nursing in 2022
Three Technologies Changing Nursing in 2022
The nursing profession has experienced significant change over the last several years. From the pandemic to generational shifts in the workforce, nursing has continued to evolve to meet today’s demands while keeping excellent patient care at the forefront.
One of the biggest vectors of change in nursing has been technology. The 2021 HIMSS Future of Healthcare Report indicated that 80% of healthcare providers plan to increase investment in technology and digital solutions over the next five years.1 While a myriad of different technologies have recently influenced nursing, three innovations stand out for their game-changing potential.
Technologies for better team communication and operational workflows
Innovative technologies are impacting nurses’ day-to-day role and helping to break down the barriers that they face. For example, mobility devices that resemble consumer smartphones, but are designed for healthcare environments, can streamline clinician communication, reduce medical errors and maximize the time nurses spend working at top-of-license. Because they are purpose-built for the demanding workflows of a healthcare setting, they are more resilient, offer longer lifecycles, are disinfectant-ready and often have a lower total cost of ownership than consumer devices.
Communication is a key component of a nurse’s role: according to a 2018 time-motion study published by the American Medical Informatics Association, the largest portion of a nurse’s time is spent communicating with patients and other clinicians, in addition to charting and reviewing information in the electronic health record (EHR) and administering or retrieving medications. The same study also found that nurses spend approximately 10% of their time on delegable and non-nursing activities, often due to insufficient or ineffective staffing, highlighting an opportunity to better use this time on direct patient care.2
Since communication is such a key function, hospitals must create an environment that supports seamless communication among clinical teams, from the pharmacy and laboratory to the bedside. Mobility devices allow nurses to communicate with the rest of the care team quickly and easily. By alerting nurses to tasks such as medication requests, patient status updates and EHR documentation in real time, nurses can save time and collaborate more readily from wherever they are in the hospital. These technologies are often compatible with nurse call systems and include built-in scanners to easily confirm patients’ identity, match them to their EHR information and verify medication dosage, reducing the likelihood of errors.
Honeywell has a breadth of experience helping healthcare organizations implement next-generation mobility solutions to increase accuracy, enhance communication and optimize clinicians’ time. Our CT30 XP HC (Healthcare) mobile computer recently won a 2022 MedTech Breakthrough Award as the Best Clinical Administration Hardware Device. The MedTech Breakthrough organization recognizes top technologies in the global health and medical technology market across categories like Medical Data, Patient Engagement, Mobile Communications and Telehealth.
The CT30 XP HC is Honeywell’s latest healthcare mobility solution, offering all-day access to patient information, including EHRs, coupled with intuitive team communications and efficient, high-accuracy scanning. Its lightweight and pocketable design makes it easy for nurses to carry on long shifts. It offers a user experience similar to that of a consumer phone, making it easier for new hires and travel nurses to become accustomed to, without compromising the requirements healthcare IT teams need from mobile computing solutions.
Another technology gaining in prevalence is telehealth. The catch-all term “telehealth” can mean different things, whether videoconferencing, using apps or remote patient monitoring (RPM) that uses devices to collect clinical data like blood pressure and glucose levels for the healthcare provider to analyze.3
According to the American Hospital Association, more than three quarters of all hospitals use some form of telehealth.4 After spikes in telehealth utilization during early 2020, recent analyses have found that telehealth use in physician offices and outpatient settings has stabilized at levels 38 times higher than before the pandemic. 5
As healthcare systems embark on (or continue on) their path toward telehealth transformation, they must consider the technologies that will enable that shift. The right mobile computing solution can empower clinical care teams to seamlessly document and recall patient records, scan and log samples, retrieve lab results and receive alerts, all with a singular device. A technology that can effortlessly connect a care team during their shift, as well as during hand-offs, can make a significant impact in how nurses provide care. As workflows become more automated, patient care, and the perception of that care, improves, all-the-while enhancing a healthcare team’s ability to improve the patient experience and help reduce costly and life-threatening errors.
In addition to investing in the platforms to optimize telehealth, healthcare organizations must also prioritize nurse training in telehealth to ensure they are equipped for this expanded role. Nurses provide and facilitate telehealth services in a number of different ways; according to the American Telemedicine Association, nurses function not only as the people who “present patients to a remote clinician but also as designers, developers, implementers, administrators, educators, and researchers of telehealth services.”6 A nurse can implement telehealth encounters, provide remote patient education, assess biometric data from wearable devices, connect individuals virtually to navigate treatment plans or manage the entire telehealth program, reviewing outcomes and metrics for program expansion.
The future of technology for nursing education
Another example of technology that has changed nursing is virtual reality (VR) for training. VR is using computer technology to create an interactive three-dimensional world.7 VR can take various forms, from viewing scenarios on a computer screen to donning a headset for a “video game-like” experience. Before the pandemic, 65% of nursing education programs were already using virtual simulations and other digital methods for training. The pandemic further accelerated this trend, and now more than 90% of programs use VR to expose students to realistic patient interactions. Wolters Kluwer’s survey, Future of Technology in Nursing Education, found that 48% of respondents plan to invest more in virtual simulation over the next two years.8
Using VR has many benefits, including expanded access to nursing education, more flexibility for students to learn on their own time and the opportunity to gain experience in high-risk areas without jeopardizing patient safety.9 For example, students can practice their response to various scenarios, such as a patient presenting with chest pain or an allergic reaction. Through an immersive VR experience, they can perform various tasks and receive a score from the software on how well they did.10
A 2020 meta-analysis examining VR’s effectiveness across several different nursing education metrics found that VR can effectively improve knowledge when compared to traditional learning, and it is comparable to traditional training methods in skills, performance time, confidence and satisfaction.11
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