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Four new technologies that could positively impact health care

Date: January 27, 2017

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can lead to an exciting new career with more responsibility, either in nurse management, nursing education or nursing research. Both nurse educators and nurse managers should stay abreast of the latest progress in the health care field and how such changes may impact the profession.

One thing that constantly is changing in health care is technology. New platforms and tools are released all the time, and it’s important that nurse managers and nurse educators have knowledge about new inventions that could improve patient care and outcomes.

Communication technologies such as patient portals, electronic health records (EHRs) and telemedicine already are positively impacting patient care and patient outcomes. According to report from HealthIT.gov, EHRs have shown particular promise in recent years, with almost 90 percent of medical practices reporting that EHRs have improved their operations in a number of ways. Additionally, 75 percent of respondents noted that their health care services have improved thanks to the platforms.

With so many new technologies currently available and being developed, it is clear that the health care industry will continue to undergo notable changes in the coming years. Here is a guide to four technologies that could positively impact health care:

1. Blue violet LED light fixtures

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a form of bacteria that is particularly prevalent in health care settings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MRSA generally is aggressive, and in many cases, antibiotics struggle to kill the bacteria. MRSA is a significant problem because it engenders chronic health problems in hospital patients who already are battling other medical issues. For example, MRSA can lead to infections in patients who have just experienced surgery. Despite hospitals and clinics adhering to rigorous cleaning procedures, MRSA remains a persistent problem.

According to Healthcare IT News, a new invention could make a difference in the fight against MRSA — blue violet LED lighting. The light-emitting diode fixtures can be installed in rooms or entire areas of hospitals and clinics to sterilize them and kill as many germs as possible, reducing the risk of MRSA. The lights can be left on round the clock to ensure that a space remains disinfected at all times.

2. Robotics
Although it may sound like something from science fiction, robotic technologies currently are making waves in the health care industry. As outlined in an article published in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, “The impact of emerging technology on nursing care: Warp speed ahead,” robotic technology now can do many things in the health care setting, including lifting heavy or difficult to move patients and carrying out surgical procedures in a less invasive way. The article noted, however, that while robotics technology is making strides in the industry, many researchers are concerned about the drawbacks — most notably, the fact that robots remove the human and emotional element so crucial to comprehensive care.

3. At-home diagnostic tools
Electronic health records, patient portals and the proliferation of health-focused smartphone apps already have brought health care home and enabled patients to take greater control of their own care. This trend is set to continue in the coming years, with a highlight being an increase of diagnostic tools that can enable patients to take charge of their own health care at home. An article in Medical Futurist reported that the general public now can purchase electrocardiogram ECG devices for at home use, which can be used to monitor heart health and determine when a problem, such as a heart attack, is occurring.

4. 3-D printing
According to the article “The impact of emerging technology on nursing care: Warp speed ahead,” 3-D printing is an exciting health care development that still is in its infancy. According to the article, 3-D printing involves the literal printing of new body organs that then can be used in patient transplants. The process works by using a special kind of liquid or “ink” that is comprised of human cells. The ink is used by the printer to build the organ. This development could one day eliminate the need for transplant lists, saving countless lives. However, this technology is fledgling and needs to be monitored and researched more closely in the coming decades.

Sources

https://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/improved-diagnostics-patient-outcomes

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/10-top-healthcare-technology-advances-2016-according-ecri

https://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/healthcare/

http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-18-2013/No2-May-2013/Impact-of-Emerging-Technology.html

http://medicalfuturist.com/10-exciting-medical-technologies-that-will-make-you-hopeful-about-our-future/

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