Technology is a crucial part of every occupation, but it is particularly essential to optimizing patient care in medical facilities and other healthcare environments. For medical professionals, ensuring patients get the best care available is the primary goal.
Improving the patient experience in surgeries, rehabilitative care, and other medical settings is quicker and more efficient with the use of technology. It Immediately integrates records and treatments for medical providers to review.
Another way technology is transforming patient care is through online degrees that allow professionals to transfer their work experience in a certain field to the medical profession of nursing. The US Bureau of Statistics estimates that requirements in the field of nursing will grow dramatically in the next decade.
This is good news for those who want to change careers and enter the nursing workforce.
A master’s degree entry to nursing practice
Few careers have as much influence as nursing and related healthcare roles. Current technology has opened the door for those who hold a bachelor’s degree and are interested in earning a master’s degree through the direct entry nursing program at Elmhurst University.
This twenty-month program is exclusively online with the addition of clinical rotations and a two-week residency on the Elmhurst campus, making the degree ideal for second-career professionals who are ready for a new challenge in a medical setting.
It is the only program of its kind offered online through an accelerated coursework option, providing an immersive educational experience students won’t find anywhere else. Once professionals have achieved their degree, they will be ready to work as a clinical nurse leader in direct patient care.
How technology optimizes patient care in medical settings
There are multiple ways to utilize technology to improve medical services and patient care. As the ultimate goal for every medical provider is to give patients the best possible care, accessing technological advances can have a huge impact on patient outcomes.
- Digital imaging
Imaging plays a crucial role in many diagnoses and treatments. Ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs deliver three-dimensional pictures of any anatomical detail in the body. As technology evolves, imaging options advance to show more detailed and precise imaging.
During CT scans, doctors and other medical providers can see a cross-section of any part of the body. A scan can be targeted at the smallest section of a bone that shows the ligaments, surrounding organs, and blood vessels – all without making a single incision. The average CT scan takes less than twenty minutes and shows physicians any disease progression or the extent of a physical injury.
Radiologists use X-rays to take photos of the organs inside a patient’s body. The most recent innovation in X-rays is a three-dimensional, color picture that shows medical professionals much of what they need to know to assess the condition of a patient. Furthermore, X-rays are comparatively inexpensive.
An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to make pictures of the inside of a body. It can be used by a medical provider to understand why a patient is experiencing a specific pain, or to identify lumps within their body.
The MRI uses magnets to create pictures of tissues, bones, organs, and other body parts to determine if a patient has a broken bone, a skull fracture, or even a tumor, for example.
- Universal access to medical records
With the advent of electronic health records, doctors, hospitals, and any medical professional can see the records of a patient in real-time. Portable health records place valuable information at the fingertips of medical professionals.
All the patient records from every doctor visit are instantly available, including vaccinations, lab records, and medications. There are fewer errors when the information is entered directly into the record and providers can comply with state and federal regulations more accurately. Encryption and cybersecurity securely protect vital patient information.
Furthermore, patients can access their medical records at any time. The patient portal allows them to send messages and receive answers directly from providers. Electronic health records can help patients better understand health issues and treatment choices as they decide with their doctors on the best course of action.
One of the factors in diminished healthcare is the lack of availability for many underserved population groups. Technology has helped in this area by making telehealth an option for more people than ever before.
Almost everyone has a phone, and most people have computers, making telehealth an efficient, safe way to provide healthcare to more people. Telehealth can be especially useful for rural areas and people who have difficulty attending a physical appointment.
As a telehealth provider can access all the patient’s records at the touch of a button, it is easier than ever for a medical professional to make a diagnosis or recommend lab tests with accuracy.
Digital methods of managing patient care remotely
Another way technology has helped to improve patient care is through digital methods of monitoring certain diseases. Digital technologies make it possible for doctors and patients to communicate instantly even when they are many miles away. This is a critical improvement for rural patients and other people who are homebound and cannot travel well who must travel long distances to see specialists.
This smart wearable technology helps medical providers in numerous ways. The sensor can detect levels of certain compounds in the body and alert medical practitioners of diseases and other issues by measuring levels of chemical or biological reactions.
Biosensors are ideal for people with diabetes who must monitor their sugar levels and manage the disease daily. Patients can also send feedback to their doctors when needed. Another type of biosensor is used to measure heart rates or breathing rates. A skin patch monitors the heart rates of patients with heart disease to send information to medical professionals for better treatment approaches.
DNA biosensors allow clinicians to predict a patient’s likelihood of developing cancer, heart disease, and other potentially fatal diseases too.
- Mobile health apps
Mobile health apps provide timely information for patients as they manage health issues, while medical diagnostic apps deliver information to doctors who monitor these health problems. Mobile health apps are targeted at outpatients by closely monitoring problems before they become dire.
Not only is it more costly to have patients in the hospital but many health issues can be managed successfully through an app that gives the patient and doctor a mutual way to keep an eye on a health issue.
Estimates show that over 2.5 billion people use some sort of mobile health app to monitor their physical levels. The information gleaned from a health app gives feedback to the user and doctor in one tap, allowing them to make vital health decisions from accurate recordings of breathing patterns, heart rates, and other crucial data.
Mobile health apps can also be highly targeted. For example, one particular health app measures how patients with irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease are faring with their symptoms. It tracks their diet and symptoms and delivers the information to their medical providers. The information recorded can help doctors make better decisions regarding treatments with fewer guesswork.
Teleconferencing has become an excellent way for medical professionals to evaluate patients after surgery, which has had a big impact on hospital readmissions. Often, a doctor can manage whatever is happening with a patient through videoconferencing, saving them a trip back to the hospital.
Teleconferencing also allows a medical team to meet virtually to discuss a case and agree on a treatment or care plan. This digital method saves them time by eradicating the need to travel to a particular location even within the hospital.
Finally, virtual conferencing is helpful for residents who need to speak to one or more doctors before treating a patient.
Master’s entry in nursing practice career opportunities
This fast-track master’s degree is tailored to people who are ready for a new career challenge in the pivotal field of nursing. Once professionals have earned the MENP degree, they can enter the workforce with a master’s level position.
Whether they want to work in a hospital or a private setting, the job growth for nurses at all levels but particularly for nurse leaders is rapidly increasing. When professional combine the knowledge of a prior career with becoming a nurse leader, the field is wide open.
- Primary care provider
There is a tremendous need for primary care providers in all areas but especially in rural settings. A nurse practitioner can care for patients of all ages and follow them through the years in this role.
If an individual enjoys the idea of forming strong relationships with patients and treating entire families, then a primary care provider position could be right for them. They will also see patients in the office for routine wellness exams, illness visits, vaccinations, and other health needs.
A primary care nurse practitioner can diagnose illnesses and diseases, order lab tests, and prescribe medications. This is a diverse position because no two days will be the same so applicants should anticipate a wide variety of patients and medical needs.
Another critical function of primary care providers is mental health assessments and treatments. This can be a delicate situation that requires trust between the primary care provider and patients. However, most professionals find that it is vastly rewarding when they can help their patients to improve their lives in these ways.
- Public health nurse practitioner
A public health nurse practitioner is responsible for addressing disease outbreaks in population groups and communities through education and medical treatments. They might work for a local, state, or federal agency to oversee public health campaigns.
They may also work at a community clinic to see and treat multiple patients of all ethnicities. Many patients at these community clinics struggle with food insecurity, communicable diseases, poor sexual health, and dangerous or unhealthy living conditions.
When public health nurse practitioners see patients, it will not only be for medical needs but for other issues that impact their health, so the professional should be prepared to help them find resources that can meet those needs for food and shelter. A public health nurse practitioner will have many resources and connections to aid these patients, but the most important role is educating them.
Some public health nurse practitioners go on to become involved in government and politics to implement changes on a broader platform beyond a single community.
- Nurse leader
Becoming a nurse leader might be a natural path for some when they have leadership experience from prior work environments. A nurse leader can work in a hospital setting to schedule and evaluate other registered nurses. Many nurse leaders function as mentors to new nurses, overseeing their training and helping them adapt to a new work environment and patient care.
Nurse leaders perform many responsibilities in every setting. They coordinate care among departments and use data-based information to make decisions that affect and improve patient care. They may also be tasked with making budgets and setting annual department goals.
- Clinical research nurse practitioner
A clinical research nurse practitioner can work for a drug company or university while researching various drugs. Drug trials can extend for many years to ensure they are safe and effective. Part of the role is to record the findings so they can be compared from trial to trial.
These nurses are also responsible for ensuring the code of ethics is followed in the clinical research and trials, acting as the patient advocate.
This is the perfect opportunity for those who love to do research and investigate. Individuals can advance medications that can dramatically improve the quality of life and healthcare for many people long into the future.
- Gerontology nurse practitioner
An adult gerontology nurse practitioner cares for adults and elderly people to help them live productive lives. These nurses focus on preventing injuries, managing chronic diseases, and acting as an overall health advocate. Individuals can work as part of a care team in a hospital, private practice, or long-term living facility in this role.
All these roles and the patients of professionals benefit from the innovative technology that is entering the field. There is undoubtedly a promising future for any individual who enters the nursing profession.