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Article by Beata Hardzei
Technology in Nursing: How Electronics Are Changing the Field
Technology has significantly evolved over the last few decades, and today, it’s changing the way we live our lives. From food delivery to medicine, you can find new technological solutions in almost every niche.
In the nursing field, specialists aren’t just required to have extensive medical knowledge. They also need to be tech-savvy and know, for example, how to navigate personal health records, schedule care, or use various medical devices. And while this approach has its drawbacks, it’s safe to say that it has positively impacted patient care.
In today’s article, we want to take a closer look at the technological revolution that is taking place in the nursing profession. How technology changes the nurses’ tasks, does it help reduce human errors, and is it a threat to the personal interactions between nurses and patients? We’ll try to find the answers to these questions right now.
Three Technological Solutions That Have Shaped the Nursing Field
Thanks to several important technologies, patients today are provided with faster and more efficient medical care, and the communication gap between specialists and patients has been narrowed. Let’s take a look at the most notable examples:
Portable monitors allow tracking patients’ vital signs easily and accurately, which is extremely important for the prevention of medical errors or emergencies that can happen unexpectedly. Alerts and alarms from portable monitors can be sent automatically when something is wrong with the patient, which can save lives.
These devices also allow nurses to note every patient’s stats at the right time even if there’s a lot going on and monitor patients from a distance, which is especially useful when you need to quickly assess somebody’s condition and provide care.
Apart from remote portable monitors that are used in nursing, there are other similar devices in the medical field today: for example, bedside patient monitoring systems or ER monitoring machines, such as Datex/Ohmeda anesthesia monitor.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
The introduction of electronic health records in the medical field has, without a doubt, changed the way nurses work. Just decades ago, paper charts were filled with pens, and it took some time to find the patient’s earlier records and the necessary information inside them. Today, the nurses are able to access patients’ records at any moment, which saves a lot of time and effort and makes their work more efficient.
Electronic health records have also made it possible to share information between medical professionals easily, allowing for better care coordination, as well as avoiding duplicate tests and unnecessary prescriptions. EHRs are useful to track patient progress – so if you need to address certain issues with your doctor, you have the information right at your fingertips.
Thanks to the technology evolving and the introduction of blockchain technology, EHRs are highly secure and can be accessed only by registered professionals, so a patient shouldn’t have any privacy concerns when visiting a medical facility today.
Automated IV Pumps
Automated IV pumps are especially useful in situations where patients require frequent medication and constant monitoring: for example, in long-term care facilities. These devices can administer intravenous medications or food to patients automatically, allowing nurses to avoid doing this procedure manually and focus on other, more important tasks.
They also provide nurses with the possibility to adjust the dosage immediately, which can be crucial if the patient’s condition changes rapidly.
Automated IV kits also help reduce the risk of errors and improve patient safety, excluding the human factor from the medication administration process. However, while they have made IV therapy easier, it’s still important for nurses to understand the basics of IV usage, such as calculating the correct dosage or spotting potential complications.
Can Nurses Be Replaced By Technology?
While technology has changed the nursing field, it’s hard to say that it has replaced nurses completely – or that it will do so in the future. While there are some tasks that have been automated, many of them still require human interactions. Of course, the most important thing is that patients still need to be treated by a human being, not a machine.
It’s impossible for a machine to build a close relationship with a patient or understand their needs and preferences. And while technology can save lives and make the treatment process easier for patients and medical professionals alike, it can’t replace the human factor when it comes to providing quality care and communication.
What’s the Future of Technology in the Nursing Field?
We can say for sure that technology will continue to evolve in the nursing field – and that the future of medical professionals will be even more reliant on it. We can already see some examples of how technology is changing the nursing field today – for instance, by helping nurses stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, or by providing them with a platform to collaborate with other specialists.
Thanks to the technological approach, the number of medical errors has been significantly reduced. It’s safe to say that in the future, technology will help decrease the number of medical errors even further, thanks to the machine learning technology that analyzes data and can provide doctors with real-time feedback on potential complications.
As technology improves, doctors will be able to remotely monitor patients’ conditions – for example, with the use of sensors and chips incorporated into mattresses, bedding, and blankets, which will allow them to paint a fuller picture of a patient’s condition and progress. And while it’s hard to predict what technologies exactly will change the medical field in the future, it’s certain that they will make patient care easier – and safer.
The Balance Between Technology and Human Factor Is Critical
Technology is changing the way we work, and it’s important to note that this process isn’t going to stop. There will always be new devices and solutions that can make our lives easier and more efficient – and embracing them will transform medical care as we know it. And even though technological advancements might not be the ultimate solution to many healthcare issues, they can lead to many positive changes in the nursing field alone.
At the same time, we need to remember that technology itself can’t replace personal interaction. The patient-provider relationship is still the most important thing in medical care today – and it should be so in the future.