Technology in Nursing: 8 Innovations Transforming Patient Care

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Technology in nursing is constantly evolving. Over the years, the healthcare industry has adopted many innovations that transformed how we provide patient care. From electronic health records to decision-making AI, nurses must constantly be ready to adapt to new tech as the industry advances.

nurse with patient in hospital room

Technology in nursing is constantly evolving and advancing to improve the quality of patient care. Nurses must be lifelong learners to keep up with technological advancements and be ready to implement new practices into their routines.

A nurse’s relationship with healthcare technology starts in nursing school. At Averett University, students interact firsthand with advanced medical technology, preparing them to become lifelong learners. Through the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, students participate in a rigorous, 16-month program where they learn the essential nursing skills needed for successful careers.

Nursing students and professionals must always be prepared for the implementation of technological advancements and be willing to learn how to utilize them. Below, we discuss the benefits of technology in healthcare and eight innovations that have transformed patient care and continue to do so.

Averett ABSN student standing outside

Technology skills are not the only important nursing skills. Read more to learn ten soft skills in nursing that all students and professionals need.

Benefits of Technology in Nursing

The benefits of technology in nursing are extensive, improving efficiency, communication and health outcomes. Technological innovation can automate routine tasks, cut healthcare costs and increase nurses’ bandwidth, allowing them to spend more time with their patients and focus on providing high-quality, patient-centered care.

Nursing technology benefits also include:

  • Improved patient safety: Innovations such as electronic medication administration records (eMAR) and medication verification via barcode scanning ensure patients receive the correct medications and doses.
  • Greater location flexibility: Video conferencing and telehealth technology allow patients in rural areas or with limited mobility to receive vital healthcare they otherwise might not have access to.
  • Increased access to evidence-based practice: Nurses and other healthcare professionals have quick access to educational resources, allowing them to review evidence-based practice and easily make informed patient care decisions.

Technology in nursing empowers both nurses and their patients. With the recent innovation of health apps, patients have unprecedented access to their health records, allowing them to monitor their health and easily connect with their providers to make educated decisions regarding their medical care.

Averett ABSN student working with sim manikin

Emerging Patient Care Technology

Emerging patient care technology has changed how we treat patients. The following eight technological innovations in nursing have significantly impacted patient care delivery.

1. Decision-Making AI

Decision-making AI utilizes information technology to support healthcare workers in making clinical decisions. AI assesses more data faster than human ability with less room for error, providing three advantages over traditional methods:

  • Speed: AI can quickly evaluate large volumes of data to predict potential risks.
  • Accuracy: AI increases accuracy in determining which patients are most at-risk.
  • Efficiency: AI can make automated variable and calculation adjustments.

Decision-making AI can generate diagnoses based on symptoms and medical history, predict patients’ fall risk and create decision trees to help prevent complications from procedures and treatments.

Proper utilization of decision-making AI can help identify gaps in treatment plans and expose potential challenges, helping nurses better advocate for their patients.

2. Wearable Devices

Wearable devices have transformed patient engagement with their health. From consumer products — such as the Apple Watch — to vital medical technology — such as glucose meters — wearable devices keep patients informed of their health and create a strong partnership between patients, nurses and physicians.

For example, many at-home devices make it easier than ever to monitor one’s health. Apple Watches include ECG monitors that can detect abnormal heart rhythms, blood pressure cuffs allow you to monitor your blood pressure from home, and wearable glucose meters decrease the need to prick your finger to detect glucose levels.

These technological advancements help empower and educate patients about their health. Armed with this information, they can seek earlier intervention if a wearable device detects an abnormality.

nurse looking at her wrist watch

3. Telehealth Services

Telehealth services provide healthcare access for patients living in rural areas with limited mobility or transportation access. Telehealth services incorporate several different types of technology in nursing.

First and foremost, video conferencing and online health portals make telehealth nursing possible. Patients can quickly speak with nurses and physicians and provide visual confirmation of specific symptoms. All records and lab tests are recorded in the online health portal, accessible on a desktop or smartphone so that patients can stay informed.

As mentioned above, wearable devices improve telehealth nurses’ and physicians’ ability to assess patient conditions. Of course, not all medical conditions can be addressed virtually. In these cases, nurses and physicians will recommend patients seek immediate treatment at the nearest healthcare facility.

4. Smart Beds

Smart beds have built-in safety features and data collection technology, making them a valuable patient care tool. Smart bed features vary depending on the manufacturer and model; however, advancements in three key areas have the potential to improve nurse efficiency and patient care:

  • Automated positioning: Improved airflow beneath the patient and auto-positioning technology limits the exposure to humidity and pressure on a single part of the body, decreasing the frequency of pressure-related injuries.
  • Data collection: Sensors collect a patient’s vital signs, such as heart and respiratory rates, temperature and body weight, and then update their medical records with the collected data.
  • Fall prevention: Many smart beds include alarms that notify nurses when a patient who should not get out of bed tries to. Alarms provide nurses with enough time to intervene and prevent potentially devastating falls.

5. Automated IV Pumps

Automated IV pumps, commonly called “smart pumps,” utilize dose error reduction software (DERS) and a drug library to reduce drug administration errors. Smart pumps are so common within hospitals and other healthcare facilities that 97% of hospital units reported using them consistently.

Recent advancements have updated automated IV pump technology to reduce errors and improve patient safety. For example, companies are taking steps toward simplifying and streamlining DERS programming to enhance accessibility.

IVs in patient room

6. Robotics

Robotics are transforming many industries, including healthcare. Many healthcare facilities have implemented mobile robotics to fulfill specific nursing duties, freeing nurses’ bandwidth to focus on more essential patient care responsibilities.

Mobile robots can deliver lab specimens, supplies or medicine to nurses across a hospital, greet and sign patients in upon arrival or interview patients in the emergency department.

7. Electronic Health Records

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are one of the most significant technological advancements in healthcare. An executive order was signed in 2004, which required EHRs to be implemented nationwide by 2014.

EHRs provide easy access to patient records, allowing healthcare workers to quickly review patient medical histories and transfer relevant data to other facilities. EHRs have improved efficiency, accessibility and patient involvement.

Not only can healthcare workers quickly access EHRs, but patients now have easy access to their medical records, helping them better advocate for themselves.

Typing on laptop

8. Portable Vital Signs Monitors

Portable vital signs monitors have streamlined how healthcare staff moves patients. Many circumstances require moving patients, such as lab tests and scans, exercise or transport to a different room or hospital unit.

Portable monitors make it possible to move patients without disrupting the monitoring of their vitals. Nurses can now continuously assess their patients and quickly step in if needed. Portable monitors also help save time when moving patients. There are many scenarios where every second counts, such as moving critical patients to the operating room, and time should be well-spent.

Are you ready to become a nurse? Read more to learn how long it takes to become an RN.

Nurse on phone reviewing paperwork

The Future of Technology and Nursing

The future of technology and nursing will continue to evolve as practices and patient needs change. As a nurse, you must always be ready to implement and adapt to new technology throughout your career. Averett University believes in fostering this commitment to lifelong learning in our students.

In Averett’s ABSN, students can learn vital nursing skills while utilizing the same medical equipment found in hospitals, preparing them for the moment they begin working as registered nurses. Students also work with realistic medical manikins in skills and simulation labs. These manikins can replicate various symptoms and conditions — even allergic reactions — and serve as a foundation for providing direct patient care.

Averett nursing student putting on stethoscope

Contact an admissions counselor today to learn more about Averett’s ABSN. Our admissions team is eager to walk you through the admissions process, from discussing eligibility to submitting your application.