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3 Ways Technology Improves Nursing

Secure text messaging, telehealth and ride-sharing tools allow better communication and more efficient care, among other benefits.

Nurses on the front lines of healthcare need all the tools they can get to help streamline care and reduce fatigue. Increasingly, remote and digital technologies help to shoulder that load, allowing nurses to provide more proactive care to their patients and better coordinate care with doctors. This critical bridge between communication and care can foster better patient engagement and lead to better reimbursement rates.

1. Text to Streamline Time and Resources

Take texting. In healthcare, texting remains a much-discussed topic and continues to play an ever more pivotal role in nurses’ day-to-day workflow.

With smartphone deployment among nursing staff increasing, hospitals must strive to equip nurses with new and secure tools. In February, TigerText launched a voice-activated solution that pushes patients’ requests spoken to Amazon Alexa out to nurses via secure text. Now, physically impaired patients need not worry over the inability to push a button, pull a cord or pick up a phone. The potential for this tool to advance patient communication is immense.

Solutions like TigerText also promise to further streamline communications among healthcare providers by integrating with critical hospital systems, including the electronic health record (EHR) and nurse call system.

What does that mean in terms of a nurse’s time? No more scrambling to connect with the doctor about pressing patient issues.

2. Telehealth Enhances Remote Care

If it’s difficult to imagine nurses no longer needing to page a doctor, it’s even harder to picture nurses caring for patients who live across the country.

Enter a Vietnam veteran who had been airlifted to Mercy Hospital Washington in Missouri 13 times for chronic cardiac issues over two years. That’s before entering the care of nurses at Mercy Virtual Care Center a few years ago. The Chesterfield, Mo.-based center provides remote monitoring services to patients struggling with chronic conditions.

Today, the combat veteran’s nurses keep tabs on his vital signs at their workstations 100 miles away.

Meanwhile, Lahey Health, a multihospital network based in Burlington, Mass., deploys iPads and iPhones in remote care, both of which integrate nicely with its EHR and videoconferencing systems. That allows nurses to deliver care to patients in their homes, down the hall or at remote clinics.

3. Ride-Sharing Platforms Personalize Transportation

One more sign of the times is that nurses may soon have access to a platform that shares patient data with their hospital’s EHR and ride-sharing companies. For patients with mobility issues and limited sight, this development represents another option for safe transportation home. For nurses and other caregivers, it also represents greater ability to tailor rides to patient needs.

Ride-sharing apps reduce no-show rates and the number of patients arriving late to appointments, making schedule management that much easier.

Such tools will prove particularly useful when caring for patients with chronic conditions requiring frequent appointments, MedStar Health Chief Digital Officer Michael Ruiz says. Ruiz recently told HealthTech that his teams have the potential to drastically reduce patient wait times.

As nurses strive to provide better and more efficient care to patients, technology’s role will only grow more prominent. It’s an exciting development that is fascinating to watch unfold.

Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Thinkstock
Jun 28 2017

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