To say that the world has changed in the last two centuries would be an understatement. Technology has improved so many aspects of our lives and medicine is one of the sectors that has profited the most from technological advancements.
May 12th marked the International Nurses Day with the theme “Nurses: A Voice to Lead”, and it’s a great opportunity to discuss nursing informatics. Data and nurses have the power to change healthcare systems, which is why these areas of investment need to grow.
Providing nurses with the support they need is vital not only for their own well-being but also for the health of the patients they help daily. As such, it’s important to embrace technology as an essential part of healthcare systems and prioritize it when it comes to investment.
The Importance of Nurses and Their Insight
Nurses have an extremely valuable part in all kinds of healthcare teams and they’re often responsible for providing front-line patient care either in the patient’s room or in the ER. How much time they spend with patients and how long it takes them to respond to a call button has a direct effect on patient outcomes.
If they don’t have the technology to get the right nurse to the right room to take proper action at the right time, it could impact decisions and lead to delays in patient care. Not to mention the nurse shortage is growing, which means patient capacity could be affected if healthcare systems don’t use technology to compensate for the lack of workforce.
Back in 2020, the WHO released a State of the World report on Nursing, where they stated that the entire nursing workforce of the world stood at 27.9 million, with an estimated shortage of 5.9 million. If this shortage is to be stopped to keep healthcare issues from worsening, it’s important to allow nurses to influence business decisions, particularly when it comes to technology investment.
They are the ones who know best, so they can provide tremendous insight into the kind of tools that can effectively increase nursing teams and automate workflows. Until that happens, we won’t be able to determine how much potential technology has to improve patient care and attention.
Data-Centered Approach to Address Nursing Priorities
Real-time data is an essential part of providing advanced and high-quality patient care. This is why hospitals are planning on investing in locationing tech, such as RFID, which offers real-time visibility of supplies, equipment, and the specimen chain across healthcare systems.
However, the introduction of this technology means IT healthcare teams must update the systems at a very difficult time. This is why adopting a data-centered approach to technology decisions is important because it will allow a better understanding of which solutions are more appropriate to cover the gaps created by the nursing shortage so it doesn’t become a problem.
Instead of looking back to what could have been done better during the pandemic, we should look to the future and start laying the foundation for the next few years based on what we already know can be and should be done better. Currently, the leaders of the healthcare system are keeping their heads down, but it’s time for that to change.
Administrators in the healthcare sector need to work with nurses to find, choose, and adopt the technological tools that will support extensive collaboration, improve planning and execution, and balance schedules based on current bandwidth.
It’s also important to focus on examining and finding ways to automate workflow, information transfer, and physical patient handovers, supplies, equipment, medicines, rooms, and more.
As hospitals continue to integrate RFID tech into their technological architecture to speed up the patient journey and the locationing of staff, patients, equipment, IT administrators and healthcare leaders will have to make sure front-line staff can maximize the data these systems generate to get things done a lot faster. This is the only way to make their days a little easier so nurses are less likely to abandon the profession.