MSN Students Learn How Technology is Improving Patient Care

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Nursing technology drives change in today’s health care industry by improving efficiency, safety and effectiveness of patient care and treatments services. Advanced technology also serves to improve nurses’ overall job satisfaction by helping to streamline processes and eliminate redundant or mundane tasks from daily routines.

Nurse on Tablet Device

Technology upgrades positively affect efficiency, effectiveness for nurses.

Identifying new technology and putting it to practice is key in moving today’s nursing workforce forward in a new tech age. Continued education programs provide exposure to new technology and an understanding of practical applications in the work environment. Nurses earning a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) are given insight to modern health care technology. Take a look at some of these emerging technologies and the impact each is having on a growing health care industry.

Point-of-care technology

New technology makes it easier for nurses to bring advanced care to the patient’s bedside. Point-of-care technology gives nurses access to patient records like patient charts, X-rays and medication information in the patient’s room. Many advanced point-of-care technology systems can even connect physicians remotely to a patient’s room with some streaming in physicians from hundreds of miles away to give patients easier access to quality care.

Wireless communications

Nurses waste a lot of time walking from patient rooms to the nurses’ station to complete records, update charts and answer the phone. In fact, a 2007 study, “Optimizing Wireless LANs for Voice Communication,” found that nurses spend an average of 58 minutes a day just walking to the nurses’ station to answer the telephone. Wireless communications frees nurses from the nurses’ station and optimizes each minute of their shift so they can devote more time to caring for patients. Using the hospital’s wireless local area network, wireless communications technologies such as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) devices keep nurses connected to networks through hands-free devices.

Electronic health records

Standardized electronic health records (EHR) may soon find their way into hospitals and other health care facilities nationwide as policymakers seek to establish a Nationwide Health Information Network to secure the exchange of health information. While a Harvard study finds that fewer than one in five nurses utilize computerized documentation, EHRs promote better patient outcomes through fewer medical errors, overall increase in accuracy and an increase in quality care.

Capnography

While not a new health care tool, capnography’s uses are expanding into other areas of medical care. Capnography is most commonly used to monitor a patient’s respiration while under anesthesia; however, it is finding new uses in the emergency room, intensive care unit and in the field with first responders. Capnography measures exhaled carbon dioxide to alert nurses and other medical professionals of warning signs signaling respiratory depression from hyperventilation, obstructed airways or cessation of breathing. The introduction of this tool into other areas of medicine helps to improve the overall safety of patients in critical condition.

Workflow management systems

Coordinating patient care can be complex and require tremendous leg work for nurses in order to track down all necessary information needed for admittance, treatment, discharge and more. Workflow management systems save nurses time by integrating information from a variety of sources into a single display to provide a real-time outline of key patient information. Nurses are better able to respond to patient fluctuations, alleviate bottlenecks in the system and provide optimal care to all patients.

Electronic medication administration with bar coding

Medication errors are a real danger in health care facilities across the nation and account for an additional cost of $3.5 billion. Electronic medication administration with bar coding helps to reduce medication administration errors by providing nurses with more detailed information about the drug and patient history, helping to secure patient safety. This technology has already had significant results in hospitals. Doylestown Hospital in Philadelphia saw a nearly 40 percent reduction in potential medication-related errors when they implemented the new technology.

Smartphone apps

In health care, there’s an app for that! Tech-savvy medical professionals are taking advantage of the reach of smartphones by creating accessible and easy-to-use apps. Patients can access their medical records, make appointments, check their lab reports and more from their phone using various smartphone apps. The report “How Mobile Devices are Transforming Health Care” found that there were more than 40,000 mobile apps in 2012 while estimates predict there will be upwards of 10 billion mobile devices in use around the world by 2016. Many experts believe the smartphone app will play a major role in the future of health care by helping patients stay on top of their health.

As new and advanced technologies emerge onto the market, nurses are faced with a higher learning curve to stay on trend with modern health care practices. Continued education provides an outlet to keep on track with new technology, and online MSN programs deliver a huge impact on your career success through a broader understanding of changing health care policies, practices and technology.