The pandemic has transformed healthcare, accelerating the use of technology throughout medicine. These days, people can see their primary care provider or get mental health counseling via video chat. That was almost unheard of before the pandemic. The healthcare sector will see technology use only grow, according to a 2021 Future of Healthcare Report by HIMSS, with 80% of providers planning to increase its use.
Technology won’t replace nurses, however. Patients still need to see human beings, and the field needs nurses more than ever. But technology will help nurses deliver care, and that’s good news for busy people everywhere. Here’s where the biggest growth is likely to continue in technology for nursing.
Telemedicine. During the early phase of the pandemic, telemedicine exploded, and though many people prefer to see nurses in person, we’ve also learned how convenient telemedicine is for people who live farther away from healthcare, are elderly, or are experiencing contagious illnesses. Nurses are able to meet with multiple patients from a central location rather than go from room to room to meet up in person. Telemedicine is here to stay and will continue to expand in 2023.
Artificial intelligence. AI and machine learning, or “big data,” help healthcare facilities sift through large amounts of information to observe trends and make decisions in their facility. More than 86% of health facilities already use AI in some capacity, and that will continue to grow. AI can streamline administrative tasks like record maintenance and may include AI-powered virtual assistants to help patients identify their symptoms. These uses free up nurses to focus on face-to-face patient care.
Wearable technology for remote monitoring. Wearable devices and apps track patient vitals like heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and exercise, which helps nurses keep up with their patient’s vitals even when they’re at home. For example, a patient might be equipped with a wearable heart monitor so they can be released to go home while the heart monitor communicates via sensors to the nurse. These devices have transformed medical providers’ ability to keep tabs on patient health.
Patient portals. These secure online websites aren’t new, but more and more patients are engaging with them, emailing their medical practitioners with questions and accessing their health information online. Rather than return phone calls or see patients in person, nurses can handle questions online for smaller health issues to create efficiencies.
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