Effectively engaging patients and their families is a proven way to increase patient experience, care plan compliance and outcomes. The challenge for healthcare providers is creating interactions with patients that are meaningful.
Over the past several years, emerging technology has enabled patients to be more fully engaged in their care. At the same time, the rapid emergence of these solutions is changing nursing professional practice, workflows and care delivery models across the care continuum. Nursing roles are shifting to empower patients to make decisions themselves and take control over their personal care journey.
As healthcare technology innovations continue to accelerate, nurse leaders must embrace the changing practice environment while balancing caring science with technology that supports patient engagement.
A healthcare technology explosion
From digital stethoscopes and heart monitors to lift systems and bed management software, digital technology has changed traditional nursing tools and applications. Telenursing practice models have expanded beyond the intensive care unit to trauma, pediatrics, mental health and other areas across the care continuum.
Interactive patient care technology at the point of care in the inpatient setting contributes to care efficiencies and effectiveness. For example, by using an automated discharge checklist delivered on an inpatient television console, care managers and social workers can obtain real-time feedback on a patient’s readiness for discharge. That readiness may include arranging for a ride home or getting discharge prescriptions filled.
These advances are changing the way nursing workflows are designed and standardized to more fully engage patients and families in their care. These innovations also require nurses to continually grow and learn new competencies, including learning to leverage technology for patient and family engagement.
Empowering patients and families
With new technological enhancements, nurses can now care with our patients, creating a dynamic where engaged patients flourish. Using technology to engage at the point of care enables patients to learn more about their illnesses or conditions, set care goals, provide real-time feedback on their experiences and stay connected to healthcare providers across the care continuum.
At one hospital, the organization was interested in proactively engaging patients through education and awareness of hand hygiene to help decrease infection rates. Patients are required to complete hand hygiene education as part of their orientation to the organization. Awareness prompts encourage patients and family members to ask caregivers to wash their hands. As a result, the hospital saw a 44% decrease in catheter-associated urinary tract infections and a 64% decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections.
Transforming nursing practice
Besides improving patient experience and outcomes, technology advances also enhance a variety of nursing outcomes. These innovations can improve the accuracy of patient hand-offs and enable nurses to more easily collaborate with the care team. Patient education is more efficient, allowing nurses to spend time on valuable teach back, as well as direct patient care.
As technology in healthcare continues to accelerate, nurses can help create a culture that empowers the patient and family. Nurse executives who recognize the possibilities for new technologies to actively engage patients and improve clinical outcomes will be poised for success.
GetWellNetwork will host a webinar, “Leveraging Technology to Transform Patient Care,” on April 18 at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST. Attendees will learn about the digital health landscape and technologies that improve care, delve into the Interactive Care Model as a framework for nursing and patient engagement and learn how to lead the adoption of technology applications that can improve outcomes.
Learn more about the webinar or register here.