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DiversityNursing Blog

The Growth of Telehealth: What It Means for The Future Of Nursing

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Thu, Aug 24, 2023 @ 10:58 AM

The growth of telehealth holds significant promise for the future of the Nursing profession. Patients and healthcare professionals have embraced the potential of the service, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, to improve patient care, patient outcomes, and make healthcare more convenient and cost-effective.

As telehealth services continue to evolve and expand, Nurses can expect to incorporate various telehealth systems into their daily practice. Here are just some of the fantastic benefits of telehealth and how the growth of the service could impact the future of Nursing.

Telehealth Will Become The Standard

As technology becomes more accessible and user-friendly, telehealth will likely become a standard part of the healthcare delivery process for Nurses. Telehealth services have proven to be as effective as in-person care for managing specific chronic diseases and treating behavioral health.

Telehealth provides patients and healthcare professionals with a more convenient and efficient way to access and deliver care. As telehealth services continue to broaden their reach, it can be expected that Nurses will incorporate more and more telehealth services into their daily work.  

Chronic Disease Management with Remote Monitoring Devices

Remote monitoring technology has completely changed how patients and Nurses manage chronic diseases. Chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension require strict medication adherence and healthy lifestyle habits.

Remote monitoring devices such as blood glucose monitors, ECG monitors, and wearable blood pressure cuffs allow patients to easily share their health information with healthcare professionals. Nurses can then work to educate their patients or implement interventions to help patients remain healthy and out of the hospital.

More Convenient and Flexible Healthcare Delivery

One of the most significant benefits of telehealth services is the convenience and flexibility it provides both the patient and healthcare provider. Telehealth allows patients to receive quality Nursing care without traveling to a physical clinic or hospital, which is especially beneficial for patients who may be homebound or live in rural communities and do not have immediate access to care.

Nurses can quickly provide advice, educate patients, relay medication changes, and so much more, all while never actually being in the exact location as the patient.

Increased Mental Health Support

Mental health support through telehealth services has emerged as a valuable and practical approach to providing accessible and convenient mental health services. There is a significant lack of mental health professionals across the country. Telehealth platforms allow mental health providers to reach patients who may not be able to access in-person mental health services.

Telehealth mental health support has many benefits, including increased accessibility, convenience, flexibility, and reduced patient stigma. Telehealth allows Nurses to conduct virtual therapy sessions, provide emotional support, and monitor a patient's mental health and well-being through phone calls, secure text messaging, or video chat, all within the comfort of the patient's home.

Access to Education and Training

Nurses must continue to broaden their knowledge and seek continuing education. With telehealth, information can be quickly and easily accessed from any laptop or smartphone.

Virtual workshops, continuing education courses and training, and professional mentorship are just a few ways telehealth can help Nurses improve their skills and knowledge. Continuing education is essential for Nurses across any specialty. With telehealth, keeping up with new and emerging health information has never been easier.

Telehealth and Our Future

There is a bright future in telehealth for Nurses. As resources and technology evolve, telehealth will empower Nurses to deliver patient-centered care, extend their reach beyond the traditional hospital or clinic setting and contribute to more efficient, accessible, and effective healthcare.

Topics: telemedicine, telehealth, telenursing

The Emergence of Telenursing

Posted by Brian Neese

Fri, Jun 09, 2017 @ 03:02 PM

transform.jpegIn many cases, patients are now able to access their health care providers through video conferencing, instant messaging, email and other forms of technology. This field, known as telehealth, is growing due to the demand for greater access and convenience in health care, according to Hospitals & Health Networks.

Advances in technology allow nurses to interact with patients remotely. This has led to the term “telenursing” or “telehealth nursing,” which is defined as “the use of telehealth/telemedicine technology to deliver nursing care and conduct nursing practice,” the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) says.

Telenursing is not a specialty area in nursing. Nurses in nearly all practice settings can provide care at a distance. And given the rapid rise of telenursing, current and future nurses can expect to have more career opportunities in this field.

Growth and Benefits

More than half of all U.S. hospitals use some form of telemedicine, according to the ATA. A survey shows that 90 percent of health care executives are developing or implementing a telemedicine program.

Other signs point to the growth of telemedicine and telenursing. State lawmakers are supporting legislation for telemedicine-related reimbursements. These changes have been accepted by private and public insurers. Providers are even extending services across the globe, and the ATA notes that more than 200 academic medical centers in the United States offer video-based consulting in other parts of the world.

Primary benefits associated with telemedicine include the following.

· Cost Savings: A heart failure telemonitoring program led to 11 percent cost savings, with an estimated return on investment of $3.30 in cost savings for every $1 spent on program implementation, according to the American Hospital Association. U.S. employers could save an estimated $6 billion by offering telemedicine, global professional services company Towers Watson says.

· Flexibility: About 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas without easy access to primary care or specialty care. More than 40 percent of hospitals surveyed said that a leading reason for investing in telemedicine tools is filling in gaps due to community remoteness. A survey of patients conducted by Software Advice, a company that compares electronic health records, revealed that 21 percent viewed the top benefit of telemedicine as not having to travel to receive care.

· Quality Care: Patient readmissions in the heart failure telemonitoring program were 44 percent lower over 30 days and 38 percent lower over 90 days, compared to patients not enrolled in the program. A study of 8,000 patient care outcomes using telemedicine services found no difference between the virtual appointment and an in-person office visit. In a Humana Cares remote health monitoring and management program for patients with congestive heart failure, at least 90 percent of patients felt more connected to their nurse, said the virtual care suite was easy to use and said they would recommend the program to their friends.

For patients who have not used a telemedicine service, 75 percent are interested in using one instead of an in-person medical visit, according to the Software Advice survey. For patients who have used telemedicine, 67 percent say that using telemedicine “somewhat” or “significantly increases” their satisfaction with their medical care.

Careers in Telenursing

“Telehealth nursing is practiced in the home, health care clinic, doctor’s office, prisons, hospitals, telehealth nursing call centers and

mobile units,” the ATA says. “Telephone triage, remote monitoring and home care are the fastest growing applications.”

Growth in telehealth has led to several telenursing practice areas:

· TeleICU

· Teletriage

· Teletrauma

· Telestroke

· Telepediatrics

· Telemental health

· Telecardiology

· Telehomecare

· Telerehabilitation

· Forensic telenursing

An example of telehealth transforming health care has been in the ICU. “Although the role of the bedside care-giver can never be replaced or diminished, it can certainly be augmented, enhanced, and facilitated,” Critical Care Nurse says. “The key to the long-term success is the continued consistent collaboration between the bedside team and the tele-ICU nurses, which can transform how critical care nursing is practiced.”

TeleICU has improved outcomes for critically ill patients by reducing ICU mortality, shortening stays in the ICU and in the hospital, increasing compliance with evidence-based best practices, improving outcomes for cardiopulmonary arrest patients and decreasing costs for patient care. ICU nurses use audio and video technology to assess and monitor patients at the patient’s bedside. At the click of a mouse, nurses have access to medical records, diagnostic images and laboratory results, as well as standard monitoring such as electrocardiography and hemodynamic values.

Major responsibilities for the teleICU nurse include making rounds via the camera and assessing all patients. The nurse will assess the patient’s physical appearance by video, check equipment for safety,

verify infusions and verbally interact with the patient, the patient’s family and staff. The nurse also acts as a resource for the bedside nurse, quickly retrieving vital pieces of information and data, and drafting detailed admission notes when a patient arrives in the unit to keep complete information about the patient available.

Future Opportunities

“As the US healthcare environment continues to evolve due to changes in reimbursement, legal issues, and shrinking healthcare resources, the expanding role of telehealth nurses will continue to evolve,” the ATA says. “Leadership and collaboration among international nurses is needed to outline the uses of ehealth/telehealth technologies to provide nursing care in an interdisciplinary manner to patients, regardless of staffing, time, or geographic boundaries.”

Career opportunities in areas such as telenursing will rely on candidates with a strong educational background. Educational standards are already on the rise, as more hospitals across the nation require nurses to hold a BSN degree. Aurora University’s online RN to BSN program equips graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue advanced career opportunities. The program takes place in an online learning environment, allowing students the flexibility and convenience to complete their degree while maintaining their work and personal schedule.

Topics: healthcare, telehealth, medical technologies, telenursing

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