Whether you’re a new graduate, seasoned nurse, IT team member, or in charge of purchasing hospital equipment, keeping up to date on nursing trends is important when deciding on what equipment to purchase. Trends are ever-changing and can affect the type of care patients expect to receive when they enter a healthcare facility.
Keeping an eye on these major nursing technology trends for 2024 will offer a better understanding of what is to come in medicine and healthcare, and prepare you for any new expectations from both staff and patients.
Trend #1: Telehealth Services
Telehealth became a common practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once patients experienced how flexible teleconferencing is, they decided to never go back. With 38% of patients having received telehealthcare in 2022, this number will only continue to increase in usage.
Telehealth offers a way for patients to receive detailed care without having to worry about traveling and wait times. For nurses, it means they’re able to meet with their patients in a central location, and no longer have to factor in the time it takes to move from room to room. This coupled with the increased use of technology in hospitals, means telehealth will continue to expand in 2024.
Trend #2: AI and Machine Learning
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, also known as “big data,” in hospitals offers 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 new information to any healthcare worker, and the increased use of it will be commonplace over the next year.
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 prepares them for performing the tasks in person. Virtual reality can also help patients with depression, autism, and visual impairment since healthcare workers can be prepared and know how to help them quicker than before.
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 are an integral piece of healthcare going forward. It will soon be used in more hospitals, and new healthcare workers will be trained in it sooner.
Trend #4: Remote Patient Monitoring
With the adoption of telehealth services in healthcare, with it came an influx of options for patients as well. Including, remote patient monitoring (RPM). RPM offers a way for at-risk patients to continue to be monitored without having to worry about travel or the risk of getting an infection.
Some of the most common conditions that have been tracked with remote patient monitoring include: high blood pressure, heart conditions, sleep apnea, and more. The patients that are able to use RPM are able to take charge of their care more, and clinicians are able to ensure their patients are more comfortable and can establish a more regulated preventative management schedule.
The use of RPM will only continue to increase in use the more technology and telehealth options get brought into the healthcare field.
Trend #5: 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 #6: Patient Portals
In recent years, patients have begun to take a more active part in the healthcare they receive. They want to know more about the care they receive, and what their treatment plans look like from start to finish. To accommodate this, the use of patient portals has increased in usage.
Patient portals are secure online website that offers patients 24-hour access to all of their health information. Included in these portals, are all test results, upcoming appointments, and any medications they’re taking. With these online portals, patients are able to gather any questions they have before coming in for an appointment and ensure their care is a priority to all of their healthcare providers. The usage of patient portals will only increase in 2024, as more patients see the benefits of them, and as healthcare facilities are able to use them to streamline operations.
Trend #7: Medical Device Carts
Mobile medical carts have been used for years and show no signs of being pushed to the wayside. The use of medical device carts will only increase in 2024, with a focus shifting to more specialized medical carts.
Nurses are turning to workstations that are designed to assist with specific pain points. With their job duties increasing, having the technology and a workstation that empowers them to complete all of their duties is at the top of their list. Carts designed to aid in safe medication delivery and facilitate telehealth services will be seen in increasing numbers throughout 2043.
These types of point-of-care workstations bring with them an added layer of accessibility to nurses, so they can redirect their focus to their patients.
Trend #8: RTLS Asset Tracking
Medical equipment like wheelchairs, scales, nebulizers, defibrillators, monitoring equipment, pumps, and workstations on wheels are tagged and tracked 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 or hurt themselves. GPS tagging and tracking offer a way for hospitals to save time and money, and will only become more popular this year.
Trend #9: 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 2024, 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%.
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, then adapting by letting go of old processes and putting trust into new ones.
The healthcare industry is continuously being disrupted by emerging technology, but these changes can yield significant results and leave 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.