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The impact of health applications and technology in revolutionizing patient care

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There have been some major advances in health applications and technology in the last few years. These advances have revolutionized the healthcare industry, making it possible to treat more people without sacrificing the level of care offered to every patient.

Advances have helped medical staff improve access to medical care for people from many different backgrounds.

Healthcare technology and applications will continue to evolve and improve the medical community. In the future it will be quite interesting to see all the advances that occur and how they have a positive and lasting impact on communities.

Patient portals increase engagement and encourage preventative care.

Thanks to online patient portals and health records, patients can request and reschedule appointments with greater ease. Waiting on the phone for a live person to make an appointment can take time and lead to patients putting off making appointments for regular preventative care.

Patient portals also encourage interaction between medical providers and patients. It is empowering to the patient to be able to ask questions via their patient portal and receive responses faster than calling. Portals make it far more likely that patients will ask relevant questions due to how easy it is to use the system.

Portals make it more likely that patients will make the effort to complete preventative care visits and screenings.

Since medical records are available in the portal, patients can read over their appointment notes and get access to clinical results faster and without relying on a phone call. When patients can read over their health records, they are more engaged and there is less likely to be misunderstandings regarding care, results, treatment plans, and more.

From a nurse’s perspective, patient portals help them provide a higher level to more patients. Since so much can be done by the patient in the portal, communication is more efficient. Questions can be answered during free moments so nurses can make better use of time during the day.

Telehealth appointments

Virtual appointments and check-ins have been available for quite a while but they were not as widely used until the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing restrictions. The pandemic led to more healthcare providers and insurance companies seeing the many benefits of conducting some basic appointments via teleconferencing.

There are many different software programs for providing appointments. Some larger medical networks may have their own system to keep track of visits and information gathered during them. Recording appointments can be helpful as long as patients are aware that they are being recorded. This can make it easier to provide accurate notes for permanent medical records.

Telehealth helps provide medical care to patients who otherwise may lack access. Rural areas or patients who have trouble with transportation or mobility are more likely to check in and stay engaged with their healthcare if they have better access.

Mental healthcare and counseling services are particularly well suited for telehealth.

The use of telehealth also allows medical providers to care for more patients with the same number of dedicated staff. Since telehealth doesn’t require a room for each patient to be seen in, there is less lag time between patients. Telehealth appointments can be scheduled in time slots that are too short for a traditional in-person appointment since there is less physical preparation.

Telehealth appointments may even be conducted outside of regular physical office hours when support staff are not needed. This can allow busy clinics to fit in more appointments during the day and provide a more flexible schedule for some nurses and doctors.

Wearable medical devices

Keeping track of vitals such as blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, and more are all possible using wearable devices. There are even devices that can provide a steady stream of medication to a patient to better control chronic diseases such as insulin-dependent diabetes.

Wearables allow nurses to keep better track of more patients than ever before. In some cases, this allows nurses to monitor patients without having to conduct rounds to physically check on a patient just to get their vital signs.

When nurses are aware of changes instantly, they can react as quickly as possible. This ability can save lives and prevent damage to a patient’s body. Cardiac problems or distress are perfect examples of a situation where the sooner an irregularity is noticed, the greater the odds of a positive patient outcome.

Hospital beds that totally monitor patient’s vitals and more are being put to use in some medical facilities and will undoubtably be more common as the technology develops and becomes more affordable. This will significantly reduce the amount of time each patient needs a nurse to be physically present in a room. Some patients will be more comfortable with this because they will not be disturbed as often, making it easier for them to relax and rest.

Primary healthcare providers must encourage preventative care.

For a variety of reasons, many people neglect to make and attend preventative care appointments and routine medical screenings appropriate for their age and health concerns. During COVID-19 more people got in the habit of not going to a doctor unless it was necessary. Even physicians were advising many patients to just stay at home unless they had a major need.

Fast forward and now more people than ever before have access to good medical insurance. While this is great progress for our society’s well-being, the influx of new patients seeking more care has worsened an already alarming shortage of primary care providers.

While people are getting care, it can take a significant amount of time for a patient to get an initial appointment. Preventative screenings and other appointments must be made well in advance if a patient wants to stick to the schedule that is best suited to their age and medical requirements. Planning in advance is necessary and made much easier with the use of patient portals and better communication. Automatic reminders via text message, email, or phone prevent patients from forgetting or missing important preventative care visits that are made far in advance.

Family nurse practitioners can bridge the gaps in primary care availability.

Many preventative care visits and screenings can be performed by a family nurse practitioner. If you are an RN who is considering the next step in your career, you should consider learning an advanced degree leading to your nurse practitioner licensure. The online nurse practitioner programs from Wilkes University allow working nurses to earn their degrees on a schedule that suits their lifestyle. Clinical placement services are included so you can gain your degree and qualify for licensing faster.

Since it takes less time for a nurse to become a nurse practitioner than it does for an MD to complete their education and qualifications, nurse practitioners play a pivotal role in closing gaps in healthcare availability and ensuring that more people are getting the preventative care they need to lead a healthy, happy, and productive life.

Wilkes University Online also offers degree programs leading to a family nurse practitioner license for those that currently hold an associate degree or that want to make a total career change into healthcare.

Interactive screeners and questionnaires speed up diagnosis.

The more information a nurse practitioner or other medical professional has in advance the easier it is to form a diagnosis and make the best use of everyone’s time. Medical software exists that has a series of screening questionnaires that can used to gain a better understanding of a patient’s physical and mental health. There are even questionnaires that can be accessed in advance of an appointment or completed before the appointment starts in the office.

Screenings and assessments help improve the accuracy of a diagnosis and encourage treatment to happen faster than using traditional methods.

Augmented reality helps train medical professionals and offers therapeutic possibilities.

Simulations are a great way to educate and train professionals for real-life situations. AR combines the sensory experience of real life with augmented features to create as realistic a scenario as possible. This makes training for rare or more serious situations a bit easier. This means that medical professionals gain more knowledge when gaining their degrees or continuing education credentials.

Some researchers and medical professionals are working with AR to provide therapeutic experiences for patients. AR can provide a relaxing experience when needed and help people combat emotional trauma and experiences.

Empowering patients leads to better outcomes.

Patients who are more engaged with their healthcare feel more empowered. Playing a stronger role in healthcare choices and having an excellent line of communication between provider and patient establishes trust. This type of patient relationship leads to better healthcare outcomes because there are fewer misunderstandings and patients are more likely to follow treatment plans and suggestions made by their provider and collaborators.

Patients who are more in touch with their care are more likely to work with providers to pursue means of treatment that they can take on themselves such as changes in diet and exercise routines.

Lastly, empowerment means that patients are more likely to stick to the providers they have rather than changing and starting their relationship all over again. When patients establish a long-term provider relationship, both parties get to know each other a lot better.

Electronically shared patient records help medical teams coordinate care.

Gone are the days when patient records were kept in paper file folders. In the past, if a folder was misplaced it could cause some delays and make it hard to give the best care to a patient. Now healthcare providers can easily securely share patient medical records in little to no time at all.

Many medical networks have databases that allow any provider or associated medical office to have access to patient records. Whenever anything happens, it is recorded in the patient’s record and updated in real time. At hospitals, patients are routinely provided with arm bands with a bar code that is scanned every time vitals are checked, medication is administered, and more. This ensures an accurate record of each interaction and prevents harmful mistakes or misunderstandings.

Typically, patients are referred to specialists for any treatments beyond the basic everyday health conditions. This means one person with relatively minor health conditions may see multiple professionals at multiple facilities. For example, some medical tests may be performed by a specialist if there is reason to suspect a problem or just if an office is not equipped to do something as basic as imaging or ultrasound.

Conclusion

Technology has changed the landscape of nursing. Now nurse practitioners have a variety of tools at their disposal that allow them to provide a higher level of care to patients.

From electronic medical records and patient portals to wearable medical devices and telemedicine, it is impossible to miss how the medical world is changing. In the future nurses and patients should expect to see even more use of technology and virtual appointments to meet the high demand for care that will arise as more adults reach an advanced age.

The current shortage of primary care providers is concerning since more people than ever before have health insurance and are learning the importance of keeping up with recommended preventative care and routine procedures. RNs should consider earning the advanced degrees or certificates they need to qualify as a family nurse practitioner.

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Social media trailblazer. Analyst. Web evangelist. Thinker. Twitter advocate. Internetaholic.Once had a dream of deploying jungle gyms in Gainesville, FL. Spent several years getting to know psoriasis in Prescott, AZ. Was quite successful at analyzing human growth hormone in Ohio. Spent 2001-2008 donating cod worldwide. Developed several new methods for supervising the production of country music in Edison, NJ. Practiced in the art of developing strategies for UFOs in Naples, FL.
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