Compassion and communication are of course the irreplaceable core of nursing, but in the 21st century, technological savvy and skill is not only a professional asset, but a fast-paced, exciting learning experience. If you are already a techy, you find it fascinating, and if technology harries you, it’s time to stand up and embrace it.
Nursing Conferences are full of opportunities to learn about the latest nursing technologies and ask colleagues how they make nursing both more effective and a little easier. Should you attend a nursing conference? Yes, don’t get left behind while technology marches on. The upcoming International Healthcare Conference in Las Vegas on July 10-12, will have sessions on Smart Hospitals in the Future of Healthcare, The Impact of Wearables on Patient Engagement, New Screening Technologies, and other cutting edge topics.
Current healthcare trends that shape the nursing world include the use of wearable health devices, artificial intelligence (AI), and healthcare apps. With such novel technology that keeps on growing, the nursing profession is changing like it never has before, rapidly evolving and sharing new skills and understanding.
Digital Healthcare Trends
1. Wearable Devices
Wearable health technology dates way back to the 13th century, when eye glasses were invented by Salvino D’Armati, an Italian from Florence. However, the creative surge started a few centuries later around 2006 when many well-known brands stormed into the wearable technology market with devices like fitness trackers and smart watches. The trend began and is still going strong.
A few of the long list of wearable health monitors and sensors are:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors,
- Respiratory monitors,
- Pregnancy and newborn monitors,
- Blood flow sensors,
- Blood pressure monitors,
- Perspiration sensors.
Some are incorporated into smartwatches, some on wrist or ankle bands, some in textiles and now skin patches, and the coming generation will include smart rings designed for women.
In 2023 wearable devices will be used more and more by individuals to track their own vital signs and exercise activity, as well as by clinicians to monitor patients remotely.
2. Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
AI is designed to mimic human intelligence, but it can take in vast amounts of information from text, images or voice, organize it, analyze it and produce conclusions to be considered by humans. Talking about AI you commonly hear the terms Natural Language Processing, Computer Vision, and Machine Learning, as well as other technical terminology, and it can be quite baffling!
What do these terms mean?
- Natural language processing (NLP) enables computers to understand and organize written and spoken human language in a computable, interpretable, and accurate way. With input of medical notes, electronic health records (EHR), recorded conversations with patient feedback, prescriptions, as well as research publications and data, NLP can provide diagnosis and treatment suggestions, or answers to questions. Once converted into organized, structured data, healthcare systems can quickly and knowledgably classify patients and summarize their condition. NLP allows clinicians to make full use of medical records, eliminating the painstaking hunt for key observation, informing them to find critical insight, and saving time to focus on patient care.
- Computer vision interprets, synthesizes, and generates inference from digital images or videos using highly complex algorithms. In healthcare computer vision informs medical observation, understandings and decisions, such as early and rapid detection of cancer, patient identification which is important to patient safety, or analysis of CT scans to understand if the images show any signs of neural illness. It even has the potential to help people with scarce vision or who are blind see and experience the world around them in ways that were not previously possible.
- Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence based on the idea that systems can actually learn from data, identify patterns, and make logical decisions with little to no human intervention. In healthcare machine learning is commonly used for automating medical billing and scheduling systems, handling of patient data and records, improved radiotherapy, and projects in 2023 will advance in predicting epidemics, robotic surgery and much more.
3. A Drive Towards Using Technology to Save Money in Facilities
According to the National Library of Medicine, AI applications may cut annual US healthcare costs by USD 150 billion in 2026. A major part of these cost reductions stem from a more proactive approach to health, focusing on health management rather than disease treatment. This is expected to result in fewer hospitalizations, less doctor visits, and less treatments. AI-based technology will have an important role in helping people stay healthy via continuous monitoring and coaching and will support earlier diagnosis, tailored treatments, and more efficient follow-ups.
Internet technology improves diagnosis and treatment, as well as hospital management, and even offers recruitment solutions in the midst of the nursing shortage.
PRN nurse apps facilitate nurse recruitment for per diem or PRN jobs, benefitting hospitals, nurses and patients. PRN stands for Pro Re Nata that means ‘as needed’ in Latin. Healthcare institutions rely on PRN nurses to fill the urgent gaps in staffing and secure patient safety. Especially in today’s gig economy, many nurses prefer to work in short-term positions with flexible hours that allow them to balance their need for steady income with other interests, further study or time for the family. The Nursa app offers the service of connecting nurses with the needs of healthcare facilities near home.
Be a tech savvy nurse, on top of technology to find the job you want, aware of the AI used at the hospital where you work, and up-to-date on the latest wearable health devices.