The increasing and evolving use of technology in healthcare is resulting in better outcomes for patients and changing the way nursing care is delivered. Australia already offers one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Now, technology is increasingly being used for training purposes, and nurses are able to engage with patients in new and innovative ways.
The delivery of aspects of healthcare could be simplified through adding an extensive range of online services and advanced software packages. However, as the Australian Physiotherapy Association has pointed out previously, these software packages will need to be integrated through an effective practice management system.
New technology has the potential to help nurses with administrative tasks, saving them time and allowing them to concentrate on patient care. The use of interconnected cloud-based technologies could result in streamlined management of care, operations and finances.
However, processes currently vary from one healthcare provider to another, and there is little or no standardization. The government has already set up an agency to monitor the national digital health strategy but need to create a more uniform infrastructure in which systems are streamlined and integrated.
These systems could allow access to an up to date electronic record of a patient’s health, but are unlikely to include information about insurance cover and the Medicare levy surcharge.
Enhancing healthcare education
According to academics at the University of Newcastle, it’s becoming harder to provide student nurses with real life clinical experiences. Classroom training has limitations, and it’s not possible to replicate all procedures with lifelike models. Through using virtual and augmented reality training, students can become accustomed to procedures before experiencing them in a potentially overwhelming clinical setting. For the past two years, the university has been using virtual reality technology to teach midwifery. As it is available on an app, this also means that students are able to undertake training exercises in their own time outside of the classroom.
Engaging with patients
The rise in the use of technology in healthcare is also changing how nurses are engaging with patients. They are learning how to oversee healthcare technology such as self-management devices, and teach patients how to use them properly. Point-of-care testing is becoming increasingly available, and allows for greater engagement in smaller clinics and more remote areas. Patients who need to travel long distances to the nearest hospital are also being treated via telehealth services. This enables patients to speak to an expert consultant via a video link, but receive their treatment locally from a nurse under instruction from a specialist at a larger health centre.