Technology provides a path to better healthcare and nurse leaders need to be well-informed.
Besides staffing schedules, overseeing budgets, and staying current on nursing practice issues, nurse executives must also stay on top of the organization’s bigger picture, which increasingly involves healthcare technology.
Technology advancement offers numerous opportunities for nurse leaders, such as improving clinical outcomes, reducing human error, tracking data, enhancing nurses’ well-being, simplifying care coordination, and promoting practice efficiencies, to name a few.
Indeed, nurses are natural healthcare innovators, and their understanding of patients, families, and communities provides a unique perspective to the use of technology and other innovative processes to promote health and well-being, prevent disease, and manage acute and chronic conditions, says an article recently published in the Journal of Professional Nursing, authored by three nurse leaders at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
These five technology stories from HealthLeaders editors will help nurse leaders keep on top of evolving industry developments:
1. How Digital Health Lays the Groundwork for Future Healthcare Strategy
Baptist Health is one of many health systems using digital health to improve its ICU services and connect care providers throughout the Arkansas-based 11-hospital network, improving care at the bedside and enabling small, rural hospitals to reduce transfers and care for more patients
It will be important beyond COVID-19, as hospitals look to move services onto virtual platforms and reconfigure inpatient care so that those occupying hospital beds are the ones who really need hospital-based care.
“This isn’t just about how we use technology,” says Danny Kennedy, the health system’s IS field services manager. “It’s about how we use our hospitals.”
2. Study Proves Value of EHR CDS Tool in Refining Overnight Workloads
An EHR tool that uses AI to predict vital signs could be used in hospitals to reduce nighttime check-ups and give patients a better chance to get a good night’s sleep.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 1,900 patient encounters and created an algorithm that measures sleep promotion vitals, or normal nighttime vital signs. When embedded in the EHR, the algorithm could alert care team members that the patient has a 90% chance of maintaining normal vital signs overnight.
“The intervention group experienced 31% fewer vital sign checks per night with no change in the rates of intensive care unit transfer or code blue alarms,” researchers reported.
3. How Voice Tech Will Change Healthcare Delivery
Imagine having the conversational functionality of a digital assistant like Amazon Alexa that not only understands medical language, but also can respond, record, transcribe, translate, and interact with the electronic health record (EHR). With patient permission, the technology could be embedded in exam rooms, the OR, call centers, the patient bedside, and the patient’s home.
Conversational artificial intelligence (AI), while still in its infancy, holds the potential to deliver the next significant wave of innovation in healthcare and has the potential to reduce the administrative burden on clinicians, improve clinician-patient interactions, and reduce financial pressure on healthcare enterprises, says Brian Kalis, managing director, health strategy at Accenture.
“Conversational AI technology allows people to use natural voice or text to interact with systems,” Kalis says. “There’s been a growing trend of artificial intelligence moving beyond a back-end tool for the healthcare enterprise to the forefront of the clinician and consumer experience.”
4. Children’s Mercy Uses Big Data, Digital Innovation to Improve Diabetes Care
Children’s Mercy Kansas City has launched a new program that uses predictive analytics and digital health technologies to help young patients living with diabetes manage their health and address concerns before they become serious.
Called the Rising T1DE Alliance, the program brings together clinicians, patients, caregivers, and researchers to harness the data being gathered throughout the healthcare experience and use it to predict and improve health outcomes.
The program uses Cyft’s predictive analytics technology as the backbone for its treatments, which use data and technology to predict outcomes and map out the protocols to reach those goals. Among the interventions being developed through Rising T1DE are a remote patient monitoring platform that allows patients to connect with their care providers to share data and hold virtual visits, a virtual program called PEEPS (Patients Encouraging and Engaging Peer Support) that pairs teen with young adults for mentoring, and an mHealth platform that delivers personalized “nudges” through one’s mobile phone to support positive habits and goals.
5. Jefferson Health Turns to Digital Health to Address Staff Stress, Burnout
A Philadelphia-based university and health system’s digital health platform is designed to help students and staff access behavioral health and self-care resources.
Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health is offering employees, faculty, and students the NeuroFlow mHealth app and platform, which offers digital access to surveys, reminders, symptom trackers, exercises, and other tailored content aimed at helping people dealing with behavioral health concerns.
Healthcare administrators say digital health tools not only allow staff to self-manage and move at their own pace, using resources tailored to their concerns, but also allow the organization to expand its reach and push resources where they’re most needed—either in terms of treatments needed or areas where employee stress and burnout is high.
Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.