Nursing constantly changes with the vast amounts of clinical and patient information available, requiring a specific skill set to practically apply that data during patient care.
More than ever, high-quality nursing relies on the ability to instantly process patient information and take decisive actions while interacting with abundant information.
This demand for real-time analysis and action is the new standard of nursing care. And with this new standard, AI offers a promising road ahead for nurses. It has applications in almost every specialty—learning how to work productively with AI presents a huge opportunity for nurses in all areas of healthcare.
How Artificial Intelligence Has Affected the Medical Industry
AI comprises various healthcare technologies to transform the roles of nurses and enhance patient care. Typically, in healthcare, AI refers to computers independently converting data to help guide decisions or make autonomous actions.
It’s challenging to precisely define AI in nursing, largely due to its wide range of applications, like robotics, risk prediction algorithms, etc. -- all of which are changing healthcare as a whole and augmenting nursing practices.
Let’s explore some ways that AI is currently impacting the healthcare industry:
Mobile Health and Wearable Technology
The recent pandemic transformed the healthcare industry and patient care delivery, including the need to get data from patients remotely between visits.
Mobile health and wearable technologies helped reshape how nurses deliver care and monitor their patients when resources and staffing are limited.
Smartphones, apps, and wearables all help nurses manage their patients’ chronic illnesses by sending and receiving data directly to each other, creating a more comprehensive picture of their health.
In addition, sensor-based technologies, whether in patients’ homes or hospital environments, help nurses compose messages, measure body movements, and collect other data, including weight, environmental, and movement.
All of these technologies are useful across the healthcare continuum, following patients from inpatient to outpatient care. Mobile devices help improve access to care, and wearables that monitor sleep, heart rate, physical activity, etc., are becoming increasingly affordable.
These tools and applications help nurses send and receive data to and from their patients in real-time in a scalable, non-invasive way.
Clinical Decision Support
AI in nursing helps nurses make better clinical decisions regarding their patient care. Clinical decision support tools typically help nurses by supplying them with information or providing actionable options based on data.
These tools can also help by offering suggestions and predictions with more specificity and accuracy than nurses can alone. From automatically generating diagnoses to making guided decisions, AI is supporting nursing in a huge way.
And the concepts behind these AI tools aren’t new in healthcare. For example, fall risk prediction involves regularly assessing and implementing fall precautions in patients. However, manually calculating these risks takes time and is vulnerable to human error, sometimes resulting in inaccurate predictions.
AI can help by quickly understanding large volumes of information, accurately flagging the most at-risk patients, and automatically making adjustments during the assessments.
Related: Benefits of Telemedicine
Remote Patient Monitoring
Nurses can also leverage AI tools to create more successful patient remote monitoring programs.
Advanced AI algorithms can analyze large data sets (clinical, experiential, socioeconomic, etc.) to give nurses a more holistic view of the people they treat. Based on that analysis, they can identify risk levels and better understand the individuals who would benefit most from remote patient monitoring.
AI programs can step in to make recommendations not only about which patients should get enrolled in your remote monitoring programs, but they can also help determine what will work best to get your patients activated and engaged.
Then, nurses can collect and monitor data from patient devices and self-reported information (symptoms, pain levels, etc.).
Combining patient monitoring and AI can help personalize the patient experience, gather additional data, and create a self-sustaining cycle for nurses to provide better care and make quick, actionable decisions.
Robotic Technology & Remote Care
Robotics in healthcare is advancing quickly, providing care companions and remote-controlled tools to unite patients and nurses. Hospitals are increasingly using technology like telepresence robots to provide better face-to-face care.
In addition, voice assistants (like a healthcare version of Alexa) may also help nurses collect patient data and deliver care to patients’ homes.
For example, nurses could use these devices to remind their older patients to take a certain medication, measure their blood pressure, etc., which could be especially helpful for older adults or patients with disabilities due to their voice-based interaction.
During the pandemic, nurses frequently used remote technology like this to interact with patients remotely, reducing PPE use and possible exposure to the virus. It also helped reduce the time nurses spent per visit on collecting data and documentation.
Implementing AI in Nursing
We’ve been looking into AI solutions for decades now; however, its use in healthcare organizations remains relatively new.
Implementing AI in nursing can help nurses recommend interventions, streamline their workflows, and quickly identify risks.
AI tools can bring many benefits to providers and patients, but for them to truly transform the nursing practice, nurses must work together with AI tools and providers to address their limitations and put together better care plans.
There’s not a perfect science to implementing AI in nursing—success will require considering the right tools for your organization, engagement with nurses who will use the tools, and involvement in its implementation and evaluation.
Related: The Benefits of AI Chat
The Future Impact of AI in Nursing
AI has the potential to benefit clinicians and patients by helping nurses improve their efficiency and quality of care.
Implementing AI in nursing comes with some challenges; however, as it continues to develop, nurses will play a key role in helping healthcare organizations implement and adapt to this technology transformation.
Undoubtedly, AI is transforming healthcare and the nurses’ roles in care delivery. As we continue facing a global pandemic, implementing and developing AI-driven technologies can help address the unique issues it brings—like disease presence in asymptomatic patients.
Ready to implement AI solutions in your healthcare organization? Book your personalized demo of Clearstep today—see how we can help improve your nurses’ productivity.