The world of healthcare has undergone dramatic transformations over the years, not only with medical research but technological advancements that have changed how patient care is delivered. Not many sectors have been more affected by this shift than nursing, where more and more nurses are now turning to remote care and attaining qualifications remotely, like the online MSN (Master of Science in Nursing).
The change means more nurses are moving into the online world. To learn more about how this type of remote care is changing the way people look at nursing and what it might mean for the future, check out the article below.
Overview of the Telehealth Revolution
While some nurses and medical practitioners offered telehealth services in the past, the industry didn’t see the natural expansion until the recent pandemic, when a lack of physical communication made it necessary.
The acceleration of telemedicine made people realize that implementing things like telehealth can be beneficial on many occasions and shouldn’t only be relied upon during times of need. With everything from smart devices to high-speed internet and improved software, there is no reason not to embrace the technology today.
Moving forward, you can expect to see an array of telehealth implementations and the inclusion of things like automation and artificial intelligence alongside healthcare. These advancements will continue to shape how care is delivered and will be central in supplying the best care possible despite the location of patients or access to facilities.
Benefits of Telehealth for Nurses and Patients
There are an array of benefits to using telehealth for both the nurse and the patients. Some of the benefits are obvious, but others may be harder to notice. Take a look at some of these advantages so you can get a lay of the land.
Reach Patients in Remote Locations
The first and most obvious positive is the fact that you can reach patients in remote locations. Gone are the days of patients flying into major cities to get medical care at clinics. While it is still beyond reach to do fully-fledged medical operations remotely, the good thing about telehealth is that simple check-ups or consultations don’t require extensive travel any longer. These check-ups would usually not be worth the cost and time spent on transport, so telehealth is the perfect alternative.
Greater Access for Patients with Mobility Issues
Telehealth ensures greater access to those with mobility issues and those in remote locations. Most nurses deal with elderly patients who suffer from degenerative issues, making it more difficult for them to move around. The patient may be bound to a wheelchair or find it difficult to drive from place to place. Telehealth consultations are the perfect solution for these physically challenged individuals.
Saves Considerable Time and Effort
While it’s great for patients stuck in remote areas, it also makes things easier for nurses because telehealth consultations usually save time. The capacity to manage everything from the computer instead of getting patients to wait in the waiting room saves time and generally makes the entire process smoother and more efficient. It is a net plus for nurses because these are generally the most overworked healthcare professionals who usually work with multiple patients simultaneously.
An advantage that is more prevalent on the business side is the overall cost-effectiveness of this technology. When businesses start to move from in-person to telehealth or the work-from-home model, resources from the office or hospital won’t be drained, which means that the overall bills or cost of operations are decreased. While it’s not all about profits for healthcare, it will mean that more resources can be spent on patient care or even life-saving technology.
Challenges Faced by Nurses in a Digital Age
The analysis of telehealth nursing wouldn’t be complete without discussing the potential drawbacks faced by adopting telehealth technology. Just like anything new that is implemented in society, the industry must encounter some struggles or growing pains during implementation.
Not everyone works best with technology, and some nurses might find it difficult to operate or learn the new software required to deliver effectively. This rings particularly true with older nurses who didn’t grow up with technology. These individuals usually work better face-to-face and like to give more personal touches to their care, so the implementation of telehealth and other remote technologies might be an issue.
Another challenge that can be much more sinister is the ability of hackers to penetrate digital systems and instances of security breaches. If people increasingly rely on digital technology for patient care, then the chance of interference and cyber crime becomes very real. It could even mean the difference between a patient surviving or not. This is why those in the industry must be vigilant when implementing digital systems for things as important as healthcare.
Current and Future Technology Used by Telehealth Nurses
Take a look at some of the current technologies that nurses can use, as well as the upcoming things being developed that can significantly improve the landscape of patient care. These all might play a big future role in shaping the development of health as you know it, so paying attention is a good idea.
The current software used is not anything too fancy, in particular with many nurses that use telehealth implementing electronic health records to manage patient information digitally. When conferencing, software like Zoom or Microsoft Teams is used quite extensively. Looking forward, you can expect an array of new technologies with integrated healthcare platforms that might introduce artificial intelligence to diagnose patients and wearable technology that can analyze health data in detail for patients.
Telehealth has been a godsend for so many patients and nurses. It may not be entirely suitable to use 100% of the time, but it plays a pivotal role in adapting the nursing landscape to include all patients. In the distant future, you might see the advent of ever more advanced technology like robotics in telehealth, with teleoperated robots performing basic medical procedures. As technology evolves, the possibilities are endless, so keep an eye on this exciting and dynamic industry.
Originally published on Grit Daily.