Five Tools Transforming Nursing Care

Jul 29, 2020 1:49:01 PM / by Joy Youell

Nurses are absolutely crucial to the healthcare industry and are taking on more responsibility than ever before. Even with the influx of medical technology, most nursing programs in the United States do not offer nursing technology courses. Instead, basic healthcare technology—like EHRs and databases—is integrated into each class. Nurses typically learn how to use these systems during clinic hours.

Some universities are taking the extra step to provide classes in nursing technology, also known as nursing informatics. For example, University of Maryland School of Nursing offers a Nursing Informatics Certificate. This certificate will teach nurses how they can expand their role to become innovators, rather than mere users, of healthcare technology. Courses and certificates like these show nurses how medical apps can transform the way they practice. 

There are all kinds of technologies that can make nursing more efficient. Continue reading this article to find out about five tools that are making a big impact in nursing. 

1. Mobile Devices

If you have recently been to a hospital, you may have seen the nursing staff carrying devices with them. These devices essentially act as a remote nursing station. In fact, 72% of mobile devices used in hospitals are used for nurses. With these tools, nurses are able to collect data, scan barcodes and even take pictures. Nurses can also use these devices to message staff and receive alerts. The use of nursing mobile devices eliminates the need for outdated paper charts. Now, any medical personnel connected to a patient's case is able to view their chart and other information. 

Here are the ways that these tools for nurses are used most:

  • Rapid resource sharing
  • Easy patient information access and edits
  • Secure staff communication
  • Receiving and managing alerts
  • Checking prescriptions for medication
  • Securing patient data

Even though mobile devices are easy to use and make a big impact, there are still hurdles to overcome. Wifi problems, affordability and training are the biggest challenges in using mobile devices. These concerns have deterred many medical providers from using mobile devices, even with all of the benefits.

Mobile devices, regardless of the issues that may come with, have dramatically altered nursing. Gone are the days of running back and forth to the nursing station and phones. Now, nurses on staff can optimize their time and provide better patient care through handheld devices.

2. Medical Wearable Devices

Medical wearables are not only for home use. Many hospitals are implementing them as a way to track patient stats. This kind of technology for nurses enables quicker intervention and better patient education. Nurses can use medical wearables to show patients how their actions may be affecting them in real-time. For example, a person who is diabetic may better understand their condition when they can see how their eating choices affect their glucose levels. 

Medical wearables can track all sorts of conditions and track different kinds of data such as:

  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Glucose levels
  • Respiratory levels
  • Cardiac arrest precursors 

This data can be sent directly to a patient's chart, regardless of whether they are using the wearable at the hospital or at home. If patients use the medical wearable at home, nurses can check on them through their data. This reduces the number of costly readmissions to hospitals. Wearables have also increased treatment compliance by 96%. Medical wearables make nursing care easier by automatically tracking data and improving aftercare. 

With so many benefits, easy use and higher quality patient care, many hospitals and practices are encouraging patients to use medical wearables. 

3. Telemedicine and Nursing

The use of telehealth has been increasing to all-time highs. Telemedicine is most commonly used by doctors and nurses. While telemedicine can be and is used by anyone, it can be most helpful for elderly, immunosuppressed and incapacitated patients. Being able to receive medical care and advice over a phone or computer is so helpful to those who otherwise would not be able to receive care. 

Telehealth software for nurses can also be used to virtually monitor critical patients. This way, nurses can see the patient at all times and identify physical signs that their condition may be worsening or improving. Some hospitals are using telehealth to contact physicians who may not be working at the time. When it comes to certain specialties, a hospital may not have a doctor on duty at all times. Being able to quickly get in contact with a specialist and discuss a plan of action could dramatically change the outcome. Through telehealth, nurses can begin treatment right away instead of waiting for a doctor. 

Telemedicine apps for nurses allow them to quickly and easily identify symptoms and treat patients. With video chatting software, nurses can improve quality of care and establish better nurse patient relationships. 

4. Software and Command Centers

Command Centers are one of the most important areas in a hospital. These centers provide a variety of information to nurses. This information includes:

  • Patient discharges
  • Doctors and surgeons on call and on duty
  • Room availability
  • Plan of care
  • Staffing per patient
  • Emergency vehicles in transport
  • Vital signs

Command Centers will be one of the top locations that nurses go to for important information in a hospital. It is absolutely vital that command centers have up-to-date, accurate information so that nurses and other medical staff can effectively do their jobs. Some hospitals are implementing new medical apps and platforms that can streamline scheduling. When a patient requires multiple tests, these platforms can schedule both tests at the same time to shorten patient visits. This is only one example of how automated command centers can increase efficiency and gather accurate data. 

Command Centers are using different kinds of technology and amenities to increase effectiveness. These technologies could be digital signs or added workstations. When hospitals put in the money and effort to optimize Command Centers, nurses can communicate with and provide better care for patients. 

5. Mobile Workstations

Workstations on Wheels (WOWs) are one of the most important pieces of equipment for a nurse. These carts contain computers, medication and medical equipment. Workstations allow nurses to bring necessary items to a patient, rather than bringing the patient to the items. While in the past, workstations have been clunky, heavy and inefficient, new carts give WOWs a new purpose. Here are some of the features of newer WOWs:

  • Lightweight
  • Longer lasting battery
  • Footrest
  • Height adjustable work surface
  • Upgrade capabilities
  • Part interchangeability 
  • Customization abilities 
  • Low battery alerts
  • Large monitors

While these features may not seem to be all that innovative, the simplicity in their improvement shows that healthcare technology manufacturers should listen to their customers. 

All Children’s Hospital in Florida went from using old WOWs to newer models. These new workstations included the features above and completely changed the way that their nurses worked. Instead of abandoning the carts and complaining about using them, nurses began to complain when they couldn’t use them. They were excited about the new WOWs because the product actually increased efficiency instead of only claiming it could. 

Newer, efficient Workstations on Wheels give nurses all of the tools that they need to properly and enthusiastically do their job. When IT staff listen to their nurses and what they need from technology, quality of care and staff morale is increased.

DocClocker for Nurses

Nurses are often the main staff responsible for check in and triage. While there may be an abundance of nurse apps to streamline this process, DocClocker is among the best. 

DocClocker increases productivity for medical staff in hospitals. Patients are constantly asking nurses questions like: “When can I see the doctor” or “When will I know when my loved one is out of surgery?” Whether or not the nurse can answer the question, it takes time out of their work day. DocClocker offers all kinds of features for waiting room management. Here are only some of these:

  • Automated messages
  • Real-time wait times
  • Operating room updates
  • Remote check in
  • Notes section

If you want to learn more about what DocClocker can do for you, go here: https://info.docclocker.com/remotecheckin

Tags: Patient app, Telehealth, Healthcare app, IT healthcare news, Telemedicine, patient communication

Joy Youell

Written by Joy Youell

Joy Youell writes about IT healthcare, digital medical innovations and improving patient experiences for DocClocker.