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Commentary: Tech it out — Technology in the world of nursing

By Jamie Wankier Randles and Kelley Trump - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Jun 3, 2023
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Jamie Wankier Randles
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Kelley Trump

With its unique and varied uses, technology has grown exponentially over the past several decades in business, academic and health care environments. As nurses, we have a combined 62 years’ experience working in diverse medical settings across the state and nation, where we’ve not only seen huge leaps in technology, but also how that technology has become essential in helping us deliver safe and quality patient care.

We’ve gathered a few examples of how nurses are using what has quickly become everyday technology to streamline health care processes and ensure patients are getting the best care possible.

Mobile health apps: Mobile health, or mHealth, can monitor a patient’s health and track data like blood pressure, heart rate and glucose levels. Many consumers are already wearing technologies like Fitbits and Apple Watches to track exercise or steps, interact through social media and playing health-related games. Nursing and mHealth improve patient access to information and empowers people to take responsibility for their health care.

Telehealth: Nurses use telehealth to facilitate remote care to rural and mental health patients and conduct well-patient checks. Telehealth improves patients’ access to care for those in rural or remote areas.

Electronic health records: Nurses use EHRs to track patient information, including medical history, medications, labs and other data. An EHR system collects patient and population health information in a digital format that patients and providers can easily access, which helps reduce errors and improve health care costs.

Medical devices: Nurses use various medical devices in the hospital, clinic and home settings to manage patient care. Examples include infusion pumps, vital sign monitors, glucose monitoring, respirators and robotics, which help improve patient care experience in complex surgeries. In addition, many of these devices connect to the patients’ EHR, improving access, safety and communication with the health care team.

Patient education: Nurses use and work actively in developing various technology tools to educate patients and their families about health conditions and how to manage them. Nurses utilize credible websites to enhance their patients’ health literacy, which helps to improve patient outcomes. Nurses will often access or create education resources on smartphones or tablets, which include videos, websites, apps and social media.

Artificial intelligence: Nurses are even beginning to use AI to improve patient care, including technology that enhances patient decision-making. They are using chatbots to provide patients with answers to common health care questions and schedule appointments. In addition, AI assists with remote monitoring devices, which help nurses quickly identify changes in patient conditions.

Nurses and technology work together to create an environment of patient-centered care, which prioritizes the needs and preferences of patients and empowers them as partners in their own care. Using technology, nurses can enhance the quality of care provided to patients, reduce errors, and improve the efficiency and delivery of health care.

Jamie Wankier Randles is an associate professor and Kelley Trump is an assistant professor at Weber State University’s Annie Taylor Dee School of Nursing, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. They have 21 and 41 years of experience in nursing, respectively.


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