Share Nursing Technology Trends to Watch in 2020By Team Altus | Published Feb 13, 2020 | 10 MIN READ Whether you’re a new graduate, seasoned nurse, IT support, or in charge of purchasing hospital equipment, these nursing technology trends to watch in 2020 will help you get a better understanding of what is to come. Here are nursing technology trends that will transform medicine and healthcare in 2020. AI and Machine Learning Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning create efficiencies in research and clinical trials, identify and predict disease, optimize innovation, build new tools, develop treatment plans, and make operations more efficient. This big data could save the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries up to $100 billion annually across the US healthcare system according to the McKinsey Global Institute. Knowledge is expanding faster than our ability to effectively apply it. In fact, according to the American Clinical and Climatological Association, the doubling time of medical knowledge in 2020 is projected to be just 73 days. More than 2 quintillion (2,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes) of data is created each day. Changes in Nursing Education It will be important for leaders, especially in the education system, to address the fast data challenge and create a clear vision for not only 2020 but future generations of students. With an abundance of data, leaders need to strategize the core competencies that future students will focus on when they begin their practice of medicine. Online Nursing Education Because of the demand for nursing, there is high job security in the profession and a high need for further education. More colleges and universities are providing online education programs, specifically in nursing. Online education provides a way for nurses to obtain a degree while working full-time and provide a way for nurses to access higher education set at their own schedule. Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality The virtual, augmented and mixed reality healthcare market should reach $5.1 billion and 3.4 million users throughout the world by 2025 according to a Goldman-Sachs report. This technology is used for training, surgery simulation, patient care and treatment. Virtual reality in healthcare involves healthcare specialists using training simulators that mimic real-life scenarios, creating an entirely new world. This can help patients with depression, autism and visual impairment. Augmented reality superimposes computer-generated images onto a real-life environment. For example, surgeons can use AR in orthopedic operations, where instead of looking at an external display, they can view reconstructions directly on top of the patient’s body. Mixed reality brings together the real world and digital elements. This is accomplished by interacting with and manipulating both physical and virtual items and environments. This provides important education capabilities for both clinicians and patients to understand their conditions or treatment plans. Robotics Assisting in surgeries, disinfecting rooms, scheduling appointments, drawing blood, dispensing medication and keeping patients company are some of the ways medical robots will begin to collaborate in the healthcare field. According to Markets and Markets, the global surgical robots will experience a compound annual growth rate of 10.4%, from $3.9 billion in 2018 to $6.5 billion by 2023. Robots are likely to be costly and that has been a barrier for adoption. In 2020, more and more hospitals will decide they are worth the investment as they ease clinician workloads and patients can be monitored more closely and accurately. With some forethought and preparation, it will be important for healthcare leaders to make sure the human touch stays relevant in the patient experience. Computer Vision Current computers view scan and medical images and are used for diagnostics, surgery and more. New technology continues to emerge within computers, such as vision. This technology offers accurate intel and precise diagnoses that prevent false positives. Computer vision can detect the slightest presence of a condition that may be missed by a human with the algorithms they create using a huge amount of training data. Patient Wearable Medical Devices Wearable medical devices provide a convenient means of monitoring patients. Emerging technology continues to be easy for the patient to use and offer real-time data and alerts for clinicians to analyze. Patients can not only wear this in the hospital but at home. Their steps, heart rhythm, blood pressure, temperature, calories burned, heart rate and more can be tracked. This preventative care measure provides fewer people developing chronic conditions and less money spent caring for patients in hospitals or in emergency rooms. The wearable tech market is likely to grow by $34.48 billion during 2020-2024 according to GlobalData forecasts. Currently, 80% of people are willing to wear wearable medical devices. Natural Language Processing (NLP) NLP in healthcare is a specialized branch of AI focused on interpretation and manipulation for human-generated spoken or written data. NLP can help extract information, summarize, categorize a document and transform unstructured data to structured. Administrative tasks can be minimized as NLP aids in extracting relevant information from clinician notes to appropriately assign medical codes to facilitate the billing process. NLP provides a summary for the right information, eliminating delays and administrative errors. NLP can aid in clinician decision support by working in conjunction with predictive analytics that can identify high-risk patients and improve the diagnosis process. NLP extracts clinical concepts from previous medical records, patient discharge summaries, and lab reports, providing complete, accurate data on the spot. Clinician Mobile Devices Cell phones assist in closing the communication gap between nurses, doctors, and patients. Mobile technology allows for nurses to reference materials and information about medications, procedures and more on the spot. Every day, more and more healthcare apps are breaking into the market. Healthcare apps that can track medication, time management, patient monitoring, reference materials and more. Clinical mobile devices will continue to be a powerful communication tool. 3D Printing 3D printing is hitting just about every market, and it’s only the beginning. In healthcare, 3D printing is used in forming biostructures comprised of cells to assistive devices and surgical tools. Patient organs can be replicated pre-surgery to help prepare surgeons and 3D printing is a cost-effective solution to create comfortable prosthetic limbs. GPS Tagging and Tracking Medical equipment like wheelchairs, scales, nebulizers, defibrillators, monitoring equipment, pumps and workstation on wheels are tagged and tracked to help in monitoring the environment. Not only can hospitals track medical equipment, but they can also manage fleets of workstations. This includes checking their battery power, diagnosing issues, tracking user access, labeling bins and drawers, tracking and auditing medication, all remotely from one centralized location. Saving healthcare facilities time and money. Smarter Lifting Devices Patients aren’t the only ones at risk of injury when being lifted from their beds. New technology lifting devices are emerging that allow nurses to lift patients without harming or injuring themselves, avoiding a common occupational workplace hazard. New technology such as a large robot shaped like a bear can lift and move patients out of a bed and into a wheelchair, help patients stand, and help turn patients to prevent bedsores. This saves clinicians from carrying out difficult, repetitive tasks such as lifting a patient out of bed over 40 times a day. Machine Learning Machine learning has the potential to make predictions and improve patient care by delivering evidence-based insights and efficiencies. Because of electronic healthcare records and machine learning applications, healthcare providers can detect and have better treatment plans with a large amount of medical data on their fingertips. AI-powered virtual nursing chatbots are learning and interacting with patients more frequently than human nurses. Chatbots serve as gatekeepers of information between patients and clinicians. Blockchain Technology Blockchain technology systems records and stores transaction records that are distributed across all network participants, not by any centralized authority. Blockchain technology improves EHR management, accelerates research and advances the healthcare data ledger. Blockchain technology allows medical data to be possessed, operated, and allowed to be utilized by data subjects other than hospitals. The system allows patients to assign access rules for their personal medical data. This assists in assists in comprehensive and accurate data for population health research. The blockchain technology market is expected to hit nearly $1,637 million by 2025. The Future of Technology in the Nursing Industry As a nurse or healthcare business, you know that keeping up with technology transformation in healthcare can seem overwhelming. Deciding on which emerging technologies are worth investing in and then adapting by letting go out old processes and putting trust into new processes is hard. The healthcare industry is continuously being disrupted by emerging technology, but it is yielding big results and leaving a positive impact. Technology offers magnificent opportunities to provide better healthcare to the world and help the healthcare industry cope with the increasing demand for healthcare.