Advancements in healthcare technology have already brought improvements to the quality of patient care. They also make the lives of medical professionals easier by saving them time and improving their accuracy and efficiency. This article will explore how Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) can use these technologies to deliver quality care.
Telemedicine for remote care
Telemedicine – also called telehealth – lets medical professionals provide care without in-person doctor visits. According to one review, remote medical consultations save money, boost patient satisfaction, and improve outcomes in certain areas (chronic illnesses and psychiatry, for example).
These consultations usually happen through phone calls or video chats. Other times, healthcare professionals send patients a message using email, HIPAA-compliant messaging, or secure file sharing.
There are a few ways in which FNPs can take advantage of telemedicine. The most obvious advantage of teleconsultations is that FNPs can remotely monitor patients. This will help them track their progress and ensure they are following their treatment plan. However, the main focus of FNPs is to use telemedicine to provide health education to patients and their families. They may discuss ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle, manage a health issue, and develop preventive health strategies.
If necessary, FNPs can also refill a prescription. Importantly, each state has its own regulations and laws regarding prescribing medications and refilling prescriptions that FNPs need to follow. Telemedicine platforms also allow FNPs to follow up on patients to assess their progress since their last appointment.
EHRs for real-time information
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are a real-time, digital collection of a patient’s medical records that authorized individuals can access whenever they need them. EHRs may include the following patient information:
- Billing information.
- Demographic data (such as age, gender, and ethnicity).
- Discharge instructions.
- Health history.
- Laboratory test results.
- Progress notes.
- Vital signs.
So, it’s interesting to know, what do nurse practitioners do with these electronic health records? This is a topic that FNPs will learn about through their education, ensuring they are fully prepared to use the technology when working in the field. Carson-Newman University offers the online Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN – FNP) course for students wanting to become FNPs. This Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to FNP program is 100% online (not including clinicals or residency), which allows students to earn an MSN on a schedule that supports work-life balance.
Once qualified, FNPs utilize EHRs in numerous ways. For one, the templates and auto-filling of data fields help healthcare providers, including FNPs, produce accurate, clear, and standardized documentation. This reduces incidents of medical record errors, duplicated tests, and delayed treatments.
All individuals who are involved in the patient’s care can access EHRs. Even patients can access this portal, which can encourage them to become active participants in their own care.
EHRs make it easier for FNPs and other healthcare providers to share patient details, coordinate patient care, and receive timely updates. This collaborative effort also guarantees that the patient’s continuity of care is maintained.
Healthcare automation for improved productivity
Automation in healthcare means using a range of systems and technologies to perform tasks with as little human intervention as possible. For healthcare providers, including FNPs, these are some examples of tools that may help them automate and organize certain tasks. Alongside EHRs, they may use:
- Practice Management Software (PMS) to help medical practices streamline administrative tasks, such as billing scheduling and tracking the patient’s records.
- Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS) is an application that analyzes information to help FNPs make evidence-based decisions.
- Prescription management systems, also known as medication management systems, simplify the prescription process, from generating electronic prescriptions to sending prescriptions to pharmacies electronically.
- Mobile applications can help FNPs automate certain tasks, such as Carepatron and ReferralMD.
Automation provides many benefits to all healthcare providers. For FNPs, it can help them make more time for achieving work-life balance, take care of more patients (especially those who require urgent attention), and limit the possibility of errors.
Wearable healthcare technology for easy patient monitoring
Wearing healthcare technology refers to devices that individuals can wear on their bodies to monitor various health-related parameters and provide notifications. Most of these devices use biosensors, which are the same technology as fitness smartwatches.
With the continued advancements in biosensor technology and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, these wearable devices can provide accurate and real-time snapshots of a person’s health. Some of the data wearable devices collect include blood sugar levels, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, calorie count, heart rate, respiratory rate, and sleep patterns.
There are plenty of wearable healthcare devices available on the market today. The most common types include fitness trackers and smartwatches. Some people use devices like Vitals360 to send important health information (heart rhythm and oxygen levels, for example) to their primary clinician. Other devices are specifically designed to help users comply with their medication regimen by producing audible alarms, lights, or vibrations. Some of these devices can even recognize when the wearer swallows the medication.
Wearable health devices can greatly help FNPs and other clinicians do their jobs effectively, even after the patient is discharged. These devices can also seamlessly integrate with telemedicine platforms, mobile apps, and other wearable devices, which allow clinicians to intervene when necessary, update their treatment approach, and improve the overall quality of care.
Tech trends in healthcare to watch out for
Overall, the acceptance and use of technology to deliver medical care offer several benefits. For FNPs, staying updated with technological advances is beneficial and crucial to increasing their efficiency and providing a positive experience for their patients.
For these reasons, the creation of new technologies or the integration of new ones into existing healthcare systems has grown significantly over the past few years. As healthcare is an ever-evolving industry, the future of technological systems and devices will continue to get better in the coming years.
As for other worldwide medical technology trends, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning may take center stage. Machine learning could have a great impact on increasing the efficiency and speed of certain medical services. Meanwhile, FNPs can leverage AI technologies to improve their treatment plans, streamline their workflows, and enhance patient outcomes.