Seven Emerging Technologies that Are Changing the Practice of Nursing

Seven Emerging Technologies that Are Changing the Practice of Nursing


Technology
Benefits
Challenges
Genetics and Genomics
The majority of disease risk, health conditions and the therapies used to treat those conditions have a genetic and/or genomic element influenced by environmental, lifestyle, and other factors therefore impacting the entire nursing profession (Calzone et. al, 2010).
Many nurses currently in practice know little about genetics and genomics and lack the competence needed to effectively counsel and teach patients in this regard.
Less Invasive and More Accurate Tools for Diagnostics and Treatment
Non-invasive and minimally invasive tools for diagnostics and treatment generally result in lower patient risk and cost.
The rate at which noninvasive and minimally invasive tools are being introduced makes ongoing competency regarding their use a challenge for nurses.
3-D Printing
Bioprinters, using a "bio-ink" made of living cell mixtures can build a 3D structure of cells, layer by layer, to form human tissue and eventually human organs for replacement (Thompson, 2012).
Healthcare is just beginning to explore the limits of this technology. There are limits to the materials which can be used for printing and materials science is a laggard in 3D printing (Nusca, 2012).
Robotics
Robotics can provide improved diagnostic abilities; a less invasive and more comfortable experience for the patient; and the ability to do smaller and more precise interventions (Newell, n.d). In addition, robots can be used as adjunct care providers for some physical and mental health care provision.
More research is needed on comparative effectiveness of robotics and human care providers. Many healthcare providers have expressed concern about the lack of emotion in robots, suggesting that this is the element that will never replace human caregivers.
Biometrics
Biometrics increase the security of confidential healthcare information and eliminate the costs of managing lost passwords.
The measurement of biometric markers may occur in less than ideal situations in healthcare settings and in a rapidly changing workforce, cost may become an issue.
Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR)
Healthcare providers have access to critical patient information from multiple providers, literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing for better coordinated care.
Implementation costs, getting computers to talk to each other and debates about who “owns” the data in the EHR continue to challenge its required implementation.
Computerized Physician/Provider Order; Entry (CPOE) and Clinical Decision Support
CPOE and clinical decision support fundamentally change the ordering process resulting in lower costs, reduced medical errors, and more interventions based on evidence and best practices.
The introduction of CPOE and clinical decision support requires providers to alter their practice. Resistance is common due to the time spent on order entry. Implementation and training costs are often significant.




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