Technological advancements of the last decade are rapidly impacting the health care industry. Discover the emerging trends in nursing informatics that are changing the face of health care and dramatically improving patient outcomes.
For health care professionals interested in nursing analytics or considering a career in nursing informatics, there has never been a better time to enter this exciting field. Technology is revolutionizing the health care industry and bringing substantial improvements to patient care at every level. The need for nursing specialists experienced in analytics and health care data management is on the rise and provides a wide range of career opportunities.
Nurse informaticists are shaping the future of health care. They seek to meet the needs of patients, health practitioners, and administrators with efficiencies delivered from advanced data analytics, streamlined communication and processes, and knowledge sharing. Here, we’ll review a few health care technology trends and look at the impact and influence of big data on the health care industry.
Trends in Technology and Digitized Records
The single most important driver for advancements within the health care sector over the last three decades is the rise of digital information and digital technology. The days of handwritten charts and stacks of paper files are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Digital medical records are the norm in modern health care systems. Every touchpoint of the patient care experience involves digitized documents, and advanced digital health care technology is becoming increasingly accessible in both clinical and home settings.
While new advancements in health care technology are emerging every day, three primary trends have transformed the health system. These health care tech trends include:
- Electronic Health Records (EHR)
- Remote Health Care Devices & Care
- Mobile App Technology
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
EHRs are digital patient records that can be instantly and securely shared among various health care practitioners and organizations. EHRs include all documents related to patient care, including medical history, diagnoses, allergies, lab reports, and prescriptions.
- Quick and secure access to real-time patient information
- Streamlined communication between different health care organizations
- Consistent documentation minimizing the risk of potential errors
- Enhanced connectivity with insurance companies and government agencies
- Simplified chart storage, management, and transmission
- Increased overall speed and efficiency
A vital component of nursing analytics and informatics, EHRs empower health practitioners to make smarter decisions faster. Nursing analytics uses EHRs to look for improvements and efficiencies in health care systems and processes, helping reduce health care costs while enhancing overall patient care. Health care providers also use EHRs for predictive analytics aiding in everything from tracking and preparing for epidemics to chronic disease prevention.
Remote Health Care Devices & Care
One of the latest trends in health care technology is wearable devices that can measure and track a patient’s health status remotely. Wearable devices can record everything from vital signs, including temperature and heart rate, to more complex functions such as monitoring blood-oxygen and glucose levels.
Like fitness trackers found on smartwatches, remote health care devices can provide doctors and nurses with a live stream of real-time patient data. In partnership with information sharing offered by EHRs, medical teams can monitor patient data remotely, maintain up-to-the-minute patient records, and send notifications and requests to health care practitioners and third-party partners as needed.
Remote health care devices not only help extend the patient care experience beyond the hospital setting, this technology can lower health care costs by reducing lengthy hospital stays and provide quality care to those in areas with limited access to health care providers. Wearable health care devices can also offer patients with disabilities and chronic conditions support and greater independence.
One of the main factors for the growth of wearable health care technology is the aging Baby Boomer population seeking more flexibility and freedom from their health care experience. In a recent industry study, 92% of medical technology companies said that customer demand is pushing innovations in wearable technology.
Nursing informatics plays a central role in remote patient care. Informaticists aggregate data for analysis, identify unique patterns and trends, provide predictive assessments, and optimize health information technology systems and processes to improve patient outcomes. As remote health care devices become more advanced and widely used, the need for leaders skilled in nursing analytics will grow.
Mobile App Technology
Mobile app technology is advancing by leaps and bounds. According to Mobius MD, there are approximately 318,000 mobile health (mHealth) apps currently in leading app stores, nearly doubling since 2015. mHealth apps range from fitness and wellness tools that can record almost every activity that you do to specialized medical apps, including retinal scans and medical-grade EKG monitors.
There are numerous mobile apps used in clinical settings that medical providers rely on throughout the day. Many hospitals and clinics have mobile app technology for communicating with patients, posting lab reports, sending messages from the medical team, and scheduling appointments. For health providers, mobile devices allow for quick and easy access to real-time patient information, streamline recordkeeping, and enables them to provide a higher level of personalized care.
Many of the top trending health care apps help connect health practitioners with patients in innovative ways, while increasing efficiency, boosting productivity, and reducing costs. Mobile app technology helps minimize time spent filing, maintaining records, and performing tedious administrative tasks. Mobile apps are also used by health care practitioners to record vital signs, maintain visit logs, and provide a convenient way of communicating directly with patients.
Influence of Big Data
As defined by McKinsey Global Institute, big data refers to “datasets whose size is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage, and analyze.” MGI predicts the influence of big data on business sectors and global economies will be profound, calling big data, “the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity.”
A crucial role of nursing informatics is to capture, process, and gain insights from structured data across care settings—and the volume of data available is rapidly increasing. Recent studies indicate that health care is one of the fastest sectors leveraging big data with an expected 36% compound annual growth rate in health care data through 2025.
Advanced nursing analytics will be crucial to managing big data efficiently and effectively. With a higher volume and velocity of health care information, more responsibility will be put on nursing informaticists to collect, process, and analyze the data. Nursing analytics will also play a significant role in designing, implementing, and optimizing health care IT systems and processes to accommodate the increasing influx of big data.
While big data certainly presents many challenges, it also offers a tremendous opportunity for nurses, health care practitioners, and patients. Intelligence gained from analyzing big data will help identify health care trends, deliver more personalized care, make nurses and health care providers jobs easier, minimize administrative costs, and improve patient outcomes.