Technology and its Place in Nursing

Technology In Nursing

Whether it is robots, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, ambient computer vision or something else, there are more technological tools available today than ever before. We have an overabundance of options available to us, and it can be overwhelming to consider all the possibilities before you.

Each piece of technology invented and introduced has its own purpose and use case, and as nurse leaders one of our challenges is to clearly identify the problem that we are trying to solve, so that we can choose the right tool for the job, not the shiniest one. 

Choosing the right tool for the right job is incredibly important, as choosing the wrong tool can be even more harmful than choosing nothing at all.  

Choosing The Best Tool For The Job

Are you trying to do a better job predicting census and staffing numbers? Are you trying to identify patients that may be rapidly deteriorating? Are you trying to offload low-value-added tasks and activities? Is the problem scope large or small? How often will you need to solve the problem or can it be permanently resolved? 

These questions, and many more, need to be considered when deciding on potential technological solutions. It’s important to make sure you take the time upfront to define the real problem, before jumping into solutions. It will save you and your organization time, money, and headaches. 

Once you identify the problem and the right tool to solve it, make sure you don’t underestimate the time, effort and resources that are required for planning, executing, and sustaining the adoption of new tech.

Why Do We Need To Integrate Technology And Healthcare?

Some people may ask, “Why is technology in healthcare so important? People can handle these jobs just fine, and they’ve been doing it for years.” It’s true that we, healthcare providers, have been providing health services for centuries with varying levels of success. 

However, it’s also unequivocally true that quality of care, and the frequency of positive health outcomes has improved by leaps and bounds when compared to just 50 years ago. This is because healthcare professionals have always looked for solutions to problems not yet solved, and ways to simplify or improve existing processes. 

The integration of technology into healthcare is more of the same, our patients will benefit from the precision and discipline that machines can provide, while our existing healthcare providers will benefit from having their no-value-added tasks taken off their plates.

Some Examples Of Healthcare-Technology Integration

One example of healthcare-technology integration that has become popular recently, and that is changing lives is telehealth. Telehealth tools have helped incrementally improve one of the longest-standing healthcare issues, access. 

There are many people who lack the means to reliably access healthcare services, and assuming these same people have access to the internet, their lives can be changed for the better with the ability to talk to providers and get care without worrying about a commute. 

Another example of this integration that’s becoming more and more common to see, is remote patient monitoring. The simple fact of the matter is that, on average, there are more patients than healthcare providers. 

Previously, that just meant people did the best they could to handle a heavy load of patients, now this developing tool allows a very small number of providers, as few as one, to monitor a much greater number of patients at once, remotely, at any time.

The Nursing-Technology Takeaway

There are incredible technologies available to us today and by carefully considering your needs and evaluating different options you will be able to identify a solution for your organization. There are many products on the market that can solve many of our healthcare challenges, it’s only a matter of what your budget is.