Kristen Palumbo, RN, and Paula LeClair.
May is National Nurses Month, a time to show appreciation and gratitude for the work nurses do every day. While their work has always been challenging, nurses have faced especially difficult times over the last two years. They are the backbone of the healthcare industry, which is why we must do everything we can to support them. That starts with finding ways to reduce the amount of time they spend on repetitive tasks and tedious administrative work so they can focus on what they truly love: providing care to those in need. Fortunately, new technologies offer tools to help nurses focus less on paperwork and more on patient care.
They are the backbone of the healthcare industry, which is why we must do everything we can to support them. That starts with finding ways to reduce the amount of time they spend on repetitive tasks and tedious administrative work so they can focus on what they truly love: providing care to those in need. Fortunately, new technologies offer tools to help nurses focus less on paperwork and more on patient care.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians across the care continuum — especially from home healthcare providers — played a critical role in taking the pressure off hospitals and an overwhelmed healthcare system, enabling patients to be cared for and stabilized at home. Although the healthcare sector has adapted and invested heavily to combat the effects of the pandemic, it has left the healthcare system strained and caused a nationwide staffing shortage, which continues to present real challenges across the country. If we are going to navigate the many challenges facing the medical profession, healthcare systems must embrace technology to ease the burden on overworked clinicians.
Technology can help speed basic tasks and streamline the overwhelming administrative functions facing clinicians. According to a recent survey, 57% of healthcare professionals are worried they will burn out due to the number of repetitive tasks or documentation requirements in their role. Reducing the amount of time spent on these tasks frees nurses to focus on patient care and improves continuity of treatment.
For example, our two companies recently announced a unique partnership that is providing hundreds of nurses in Massachusetts access to a smartphone-based wound care tool. The technology is reducing the time these nurses spend documenting, monitoring, and managing chronic wounds, such as arterial, diabetic, pressure and venous ulcers. The technology has also improved the nurse’s ability to remotely collaborate with Innovive’s internal wound care consultant team.
Innovive Health is a home healthcare agency that employs around 700 nurses who provide care to over 3,000 patients with complex behavioral-health needs. Many of the patients served by the agency receive treatment in their own homes for conditions that may cause chronic wounds, which require regular care and constant monitoring.
Healthy.io is a healthcare company providing cutting-edge technology that transforms smartphones and tablets into a medical device. The AI-powered computer vision system analyzes wounds with optimal accuracy, automatically calibrating images for scale, lighting, dimensions, and 3D structure.
Through our partnership, nurses use a smartphone or tablet to scan a patient’s wound and upload the scan into a portal that allows them to assess whether the healing is proceeding properly.
Without this technology, wound monitoring is a challenging task that relies on outdated tools and practices. Nearly 90% of nurses still use old-fashioned paper rulers to document and track the progress of their patients’ chronic wounds and manually update patient files. That process is time consuming and allows for inconsistencies between measurements.
Using smartphone camera technology to standardize reporting and tracking of wounds eliminates the need for paper rulers and provides a better, more comprehensive, and consistent treatment history. In the UK, nurses using the new wound management tool reported 85 percent faster documentation compared to standard methods and a 67 percent reduction in nurses’ time for follow-up visits.
This is one example of how technology can help make nurses’ lives easier, but it extends to every area of care—and can even increase access to care.
Many vulnerable patients, for example, struggle to find transportation to the doctor’s office or a wound care clinic. Technology can reduce these barriers and improve access to care by allowing patients to complete certain tasks from the comfort of their own home.
For National Nurses Month, we challenge healthcare systems across the country to celebrate their nurses by embracing technology that will help them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. Not only will the right technology make their lives easier, but it will help improve the care they provide to their patients.
Kristen Palumbo, RN, is the chief operating officer and chief compliance officer for Innovive Health. Paula LeClair is the U.S. general manager for Healthy.io.
Read the column: Healthcare systems should utilize technology to help nurses (mcknightshomecare.com)