Recent advances and innovations in healthcare technology are bringing healthcare closer to home.
Thanks to the development of virtual care and telehealth, as well as other digital technology-assisted treatment delivery such as RPM, patients now have better access than ever before to the remote medical care they need.
A multitude of online medical courses, like nurse practitioner programs in Texas, help keep American nurses up to speed with these advancements in healthcare technology.
Stay with us to learn more.
Digital Distance-Reducing Strategies: How Healthcare Technology Supports Remote Patient Care
Patient access to primary care has, in many cases, historically been dependent on geographical location. The lack of proximity to a medical center, for instance, can pose a problem for some individuals.
As can, of course, transportation costs to these locations, especially if the patient in question is in financial hardship. In addition to this, the COVID-19 pandemic has also recently presented a massive barrier in terms of patients accessing in-person appointments during periods of mandated social isolation.
Fortunately, the development of digital technologies to support the healthcare system, and the delivery of patient care, has helped to ease these issues.
Some of the most commonly used digital healthcare technologies today include newly-created virtual care processes, such as:
Post-COVID-19, virtual healthcare became the norm. As we were all directed to stay in our homes as much as possible to help avoid the spread of the virus, we were much less able to attend face-to-face medical appointments.
As this was the case, digital technology such as video calling was heavily leaned upon by medical practitioners to deliver virtual consultations to their patients.
Dubbed ‘telehealth’, the phenomenon saw a huge uptake in patients attending medical appointments from their laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This also meant that access to these appointments was facilitated from the comfort and privacy of our own homes.
Of course, to be able to attend a virtual telehealth appointment with their medical practitioners, patients need to have access to digital and electronic devices, as well as a stable internet connection.
For this reason, lower-income households are less likely to be able to use these types of services. Despite this, virtual care and telehealth remain the way of the future.
The ease, accessibility, and convenience of telehealth services for many people mean they are still being called upon today, even post-COVID-19 pandemic.
In an offshoot of telehealth appointments, artificial intelligence (AI) has also been introduced in the form of virtual chatbot apps that can help patients quickly and accurately diagnose and treat their ailments.
AI technology can also be used to support predictive analytics, where past medical data can be used to both preempt and prevent future occurrences of similar diagnoses.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Commonly referred to as RPM, remote patient monitoring has seen the use of digital ‘wearables’ to review patients’ vitals from afar, enabling the ability for nurses to care for their patients remotely.
These wearable devices include monitors that digitally measure blood levels – such as blood sugar, oxygen levels, and blood pressure levels – as well as heart rates.
Nurses being able to do this from a distance means that their patients can be treated at home, rather than attending a medical facility in person.
Digital healthcare technology has also seen a rise in the availability of remote nursing jobs. In case you’re wondering, yes, nurses can work from home! Although admittedly, they may be less physically hands-on than their on-location, bedside nurse counterparts, there are certain duties remote nurses can assist with from outside of a medical facility.
These include connecting virtually with patients via telehealth, and of course, engaging in RPM technology to review and assess their patients’ well-being and recovery.
When it comes to primary patient care, this is something that has traditionally been delivered in person. But post-COVID-19 pandemic, this became more difficult. And following the pandemic, virtual care has remained the way of the future.
Thanks to the facilitation of digital telehealth appointments via video conferencing, as well as remote patient monitoring through electronic devices known as ‘wearables’, patients can now access treatment from the convenience, safety, and privacy of their own homes.
The best news for nursing practitioners? They now also have the option to be able to work from home.