Nurses are a pillar of the community responsible for providing medical care to patients worldwide. The hours are long, and the pay doesn’t reflect the work they do, but they show up and put 100% into their day. To make their jobs feel a little easier, technology has been lending a helping hand for some time now. Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) help nurses carry out intricate tasks and analyze data. Wearable tech allows nurses to monitor patients remotely and provide detailed wellness plans. Electronic health records (EHR) give access to a patient’s entire medical history at the click of a button. Technology supports nurses in countless ways, and we will explore some of these below.
Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
The way that healthcare is delivered has been revolutionized by the introduction of robotics and AI into the medical field. Robots are helping nurses to carry out surgical tasks with greater accuracy, which is reducing the risk factor of life-threatening surgeries. When it comes to supporting the nurse directly, robots with AI have been placed in some clinics to support nurses who feel stressed out. If robots can help nurses feel healthier in themselves, this has a knock-on effect on service users, who will receive greater levels of care.
Outside of providing groundbreaking medical care, these pieces of technology have many other benefits in the medical field. Diagnoses are more accurate because AI can sift through data with more scope and speed. Medical facilities can save on labor costs because robots and AI make fewer nurses more powerful. Robotics/AI can more accurately perform surgery and diagnose diseases much earlier. Further, staff training can be enhanced through the use of AI and robotics because students can practice without a high risk of complications.
All technology comes with challenges, and the medical field is no different. Primarily, there are privacy issues because patients don’t necessarily know if/how another technology is using their health data. Ethical and legal issues face this technology because if something goes wrong, it’s difficult to place the blame. Further, there are arguments that AI and robotics remove the human touch needed for healthcare delivery.
Robots and AI are here to stay in the medical field, but it’s difficult to know how fast the space will grow at the moment. There will always be setbacks with new technology, but the positive impact outweighs the negative in most circumstances. If you’re an advanced nurse and want to push your knowledge further, you can complete DNP executive leadership online programs through Baylor University. You will have the opportunity to learn new technologies and create efficient plans within a clinical setting.
Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records (EHR) were one of the first technologies to be introduced into the medical field. In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was introduced, which laid out regulations regarding data protection for all parties involved.
EHR benefits every person involved in the medical industry. Patients don’t need to fill out lengthy forms every time they’re treated, they can manage prescriptions online, and they can access their medical status/results easily. Nurses can offer more informed treatments because they can see entire patient histories and they can bill accurately. Insurance companies can process claims faster, which speeds up the deliverance of care to service users. Pharmacies can automate paperwork and communicate directly with doctors, which reduces the risks of erroneous prescriptions.
Despite the clear advantages that EHR provides the medical profession, there are challenges to consistently overcome. Health data used for EHR is stored digitally, which makes it more useful but more at risk of breach. Cybercriminals are constantly searching for ways of stealing private data to sell on. As well as cybercriminals, the number of access points involved with EHR makes the system vulnerable.
The future of EHR in the medical field is bright. Research and development are already searching for ways to make data more secure and transparent. One of the most interesting fields is the integration of EHR and blockchain, which will see data being accessible and manageable by end-users.
Wearable tech is relatively low-budget and accessible to the majority of people on the market. Despite mass availability, such devices including Fitbits and Apple Watches let nurses monitor patients remotely. They can look through data in real-time in order to catch potential issues before they grow. After patients have had surgery, they can be discharged early while still being monitored. This frees up beds in hospitals and lets nurses provide care to other people in need.
The advantages of wearable tech are obvious, but there are also many challenges to overcome. Fitbits are relatively cheap, coming in at around $200, but the cost adds up when hospitals need to supply them to many patients. However, insurance companies are including incentives to users who wear them, which is putting pressure on medical facilities to buy them. Further, there can be margins of error up to 25% in wearable devices, which can cause problems with diagnoses and treatments. With this technology running through cloud services, there is always a concern with privacy and cybercrime, which can make people wary of using them.
There is clear space in the medical industry for wearable tech. In terms of advancement, the Google Glass will be the pinnacle of success. Such technology will help practitioners to find better means of performing surgery, and they can also help autistic children communicate more efficiently. As well as this, wearable devices are decreasing heart attack risks because they can detect issues much earlier.
Technology is helping nurses to provide more accurate care to their patients. There will always be challenges surrounding technology, with privacy and security being one of the most prevalent. However, the clear benefits of technology in the medical field mitigate the risks. Much of this technology is new, and veteran nurses aren’t as educated in the field as they were; this leaves a gap for tech-savvy leaders in the nursing field, who can learn how to integrate innovative processes into clinical plans.