As certain types of technology emerge and develop, they are finding important applications in the medical field. As they are introduced, these advancements enable nurses and physicians to deliver care more effectively and economically. From the first x-ray machines to dialysis systems and pacemakers, inventions have transformed healthcare.
In today’s clinics and hospitals, technology is a key element in the provision of care, and it is not all about large appliances. From diagnosis to treatment and medical record systems, technology is changing medicine at an increasing rate. There are many ways in which the future will be shaped by this trend, leading to improved patient care and a better working environment for professionals.
Technology can never replace nurses
Instead of replacing nurses or other medical professionals, technology is being integrated into their daily task list in increasingly innovative ways. We don’t yet know what future technology will bring to the medical field, but we can be sure that nurses will continue to use it in a way that improves patient outcomes and makes treatments more efficient.
In-hospital and remote patient monitoring
In hospital wards, nurses can check a patient’s vital signs and ensure they are well while they are on the go using portable monitors. These small devices free nurses up to work on a range of other essential tasks without the need to regularly go back and forth between beds. Monitors send accurate data about a person’s oxygen levels, their respiratory rate and electrocardiography, along with other key information. If a patient needs attention urgently, the monitor will send an alert to a nurse or medical assistant, ensuring response times are significantly reduced.
Remote patient monitoring is another method of measuring a patient’s well-being, and this technology saw a growth in popularity during the recent pandemic. These devices are made up of wearable trackers and sensors that monitor a person’s physical signs and then send this information to the appropriate clinician. The practitioner can react to the data by getting in touch with the patient, providing a treatment plan or writing a prescription, if necessary. Whichever route they follow, it will happen without the need to meet a patient in person.
Accurate dispensation of medication
For many years, experts have believed that IT can minimize the risk of medication errors. By automating daily processes, the risk of human error is reduced, and professionals can use their skills elsewhere. Recently, technology has brought robotic dispensers into medical facilities to streamline the process of preparing and distributing medications.
Another emerging technology is machine-readable codes on packaged drugs and clinical decision support systems, which take the pressure off staff who need to make frequent and complex choices that affect patient outcomes. These have enabled pharmacists in clinics and hospitals to spend time in other areas, such as medication management, rather than being tied to their standard distribution role.
Furthermore, nurses are no longer required to make ward rounds to give out certain medications. Instead, smart pumps can be used along with an IV to dispense the correct amount of fluids or medication. Nurses can choose what dose will be given in advance and receive an alert if the IV is running low or failing, or if the patient is reacting poorly.
Digital medical records save time
Nurses and doctors can provide better-quality care with digitized health records. As the information added to a person’s record can be accessed immediately by people in their care team, it is always relevant and accurate. Professionals can quickly locate the details they need to provide more coordinated and efficient care. When all the information is available, providers can collaborate to make an effective diagnosis and prescribe the right course of treatment the first time. Medical records can also notify a care team when a patient has allergies to specific medications and when their condition has changed in recent days. Furthermore, electronic records will cut costs at hospitals by removing the need for duplicated tests and minimizing paperwork.
Communication tools help coordinate care
From collaborating with a team to discuss patient care to messaging colleagues about test results, nurses use smart devices and headsets to communicate in real-time. These tools make it easier to coordinate a care plan and reduce the time it takes to identify a condition. With the right communication devices, nurses can also provide a better patient handover experience for healthcare workers on other shifts and in other departments.
Technology enables nurses to take a more dynamic and patient-centered approach to care. It’s an exciting role, and this is why so many people are attracted to the profession. If you are interested in becoming a nurse and have a degree in an unrelated subject, you can earn an ABSN for non nurses at Baylor University. In less than a year, this online course equips students with the knowledge and practical experience they need to excel in the medical profession.
Smart beds provide data on patient well-being
Patients spend most of their time in bed when they are in the hospital, and a new range of smart beds helps them to stay safe and well-monitored. These beds are connected to the patient’s health records using digital communication, and data is sent that assists nurses in managing their health. Along with a range of vital signs, smart beds can detect weight changes and prevent bed sores from forming.
Patient safety is also enhanced through the use of sensors that are placed under their mattress. These sensors address a point of significant concern for hospitalized patients: falls. Patients can fall because of the medication they are taking, because of their condition or simply because they feel weak. Doing so can worsen their problem and often means they have to stay in the hospital for longer. The technology alerts nurses when a patient is trying to get out of bed, but it can also create reports that detail their movements so staff can check for patterns.
The bottom line
There are many ways that technology is transforming healthcare, and as it continues to advance, patients and healthcare providers alike will enjoy significant benefits.