Nursing Technology Trends to Watch in 2022
By Team Altus
Published Feb 13, 2020
| Updated Sep 19, 2022
| 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 2022 will help you get a better understanding of what is to come in medicine and healthcare.
Trend #1: AI and Machine Learning
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, also known as “big data,” in hospitals offer ways to improve the processes put in place. They create efficiencies in research and clinical trials, identify and predict disease, optimize innovation, build new tools, develop treatment plans, and make operations more efficient.
The above improvements help in every sector of healthcare, including decision-makers. Those making hard decisions for hospitals can see how much AI and machine learning improve their facilities. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, applying these big data strategies could save the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries up to $100 billion annually across the US healthcare systems.
In addition to improving efficiencies in healthcare, AI also helps bridge the gap between the amount of knowledge available and the ability to apply it effectively. With more than 2 quintillions (that’s 2,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes!) of data created each day, and medical knowledge doubling in just 73 days, absorbing the new information is imperative. AI can help sort through, understand, and explain the new information to any healthcare worker, and the increased use of it will be commonplace over the next year.
Trend #2: Changes in Nursing Education
In the coming years, leaders, especially in the education system, will update and address the fast data challenges. They will change the way education is presented to nurses and create a clear vision for not only 2022 but future generations of students.
With an abundance of data, leaders will strategize the core competencies that future students will focus on when they begin their practice of medicine, while also forming plans on how to prepare them for the influx of data once they begin to practice outside of school.
The COVID-19 pandemic and fewer nurses moving from practicing in a hospital to teaching also brings the need to update the way nursing education runs and to lower the nursing shortage. From pay increases for educators to teaching nursing specialties, and even a major shift to online learning, changes are coming to change the way healthcare is taught.
Trend #3: 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.
Virtual reality in healthcare involves healthcare specialists using training simulators that mimic real-life scenarios, creating an entirely new world. This helps prepare healthcare workers for what could happen, and can also help patients with depression, autism, and visual impairment.
Augmented reality superimposes computer-generated images into 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 physical and virtual items and environments. This provides important education capabilities for clinicians and patients to understand their conditions or treatment plans.
The benefits and opportunities for advancement that virtual, augmented, and mixed reality offer healthcare are quickly establishing this form of technology is an integral piece of healthcare going forward. It will soon be used in more hospitals, and new healthcare workers will be trained on it sooner.
Trend #4: 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.
While the medical robots may be costly, in 2022, 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. According to Markets and Markets, the global surgical robot market size will experience a compound annual growth rate of 17.6%.
Trend #5: Computer Vision
The current computers used in healthcare can view scans and medical images used for diagnostics, surgery, and more. With the influx of new technology and new computer abilities, healthcare is quickly switching from standard computers to view scans to using computer vision. This technology allows medical professionals to see the image clearly, and know even before looking if something is wrong in the data that needs attention.
Computer vision is created to be HIPAA compliant and to offer accurate intel and imaging analysis, as well as precise diagnoses. It can prevent false diagnoses, or a lack of a diagnosis, by detecting the slightest presence of a condition that a human may miss.
Trend #6: 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 offers 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 emergency rooms.
Trend #7: Natural Language Processing (NLP)
NLP (natural language processing) in healthcare is a specialized branch of AI focused on the interpretation and manipulation of human-generated spoken or written data. It can take in massive amounts of information about a patient and analyze the data quickly, meaning NLP is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Administrative tasks can be minimized as NLP aids in extracting relevant information from clinician notes to assign medical codes to facilitate the billing process appropriately. In addition, NLP provides a summary for the right information, eliminating delays and administrative errors.
Natural language processing can also aid clinician decision support by working in conjunction with predictive analytics to 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.
Trend #8: 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, or quickly call another healthcare worker if needed.
Every day, more and more healthcare apps are breaking into the market. Healthcare apps can track medication, time management, patient monitoring, reference materials, and more. These apps allow for both nurses and patients to track what is happening during their visits, and give patients the confidence to be able to track their medication at home.
Mobile devices also allow clinicians to video chat, or use telehealth in their hospitals and connect with patients. Telehealth helps save time and money for hospitals, all it needs is a mobile device.
With the influx in technology, smartphones, and apps made for clinicians will become increasingly popular.
Trend #9: 3D Printing
3D printing is hitting just about every market, and it’s only the beginning. In healthcare, 3D printing can be used in every step of healthcare. It helps create open-source PPE for hospitals, patient organs can be replicated pre-surgery to help prepare surgeons, create comfortable prosthetic limbs, as well as a tool to help train new healthcare workers. All the while being cost-effective.
The usage of 3D printing has allowed hospitals to still function, even in shortages or major pandemics, and will continue to offer versatility desperately needed in the healthcare field.
Trend #10: GPS Tagging and Tracking
Medical equipment like wheelchairs, scales, nebulizers, defibrillators, monitoring equipment, pumps, and workstation on wheels are tagged and tracked using RTLS companies to help in monitoring the environment and equipment.
Not only can hospitals track medical equipment, but they can also manage fleets of workstations. This includes creating a maintenance schedule, diagnosing issues, tracking user access, labeling bins and drawers, and tracking and auditing medication, all from one centralized location.
Asset tracking can be used to ensure staff safety in times of emergencies, track who used equipment for contact tracing, and keep track of patients in case they get lost of hurt themselves. GPS tagging and tracking offers a way for hospitals to save time and money, and will only become more popular this year.
Trend #11: Smarter Lifting Devices
Patients aren’t the only ones at risk of injury when 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.
One example of this new technology is a large robot shaped like a bear that can lift and move patients out of 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 40 times a day.
Trend #12: Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology systems record and store 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 on, and utilized by data subjects other than hospitals. In addition, the system will enable patients to assign access rules for their medical data. This assists in comprehensive and accurate data for population health research.
The blockchain technology market is expected to hit nearly $1,637 million by 2025.
As a nurse or healthcare business, you know that keeping up with technological transformations in healthcare can seem overwhelming. Deciding on which emerging technologies are worth investing in and then adapting by letting go of old processes and putting trust into new processes.
The healthcare industry is continuously being disrupted by emerging technology, but it yields significant results and leaves 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. Contact us to take the first steps into new technology for your hospital and track your hospital’s assets.