by Darcey Trescone, RN, BSN
Technology innovations are forever changing the way we practice nursing, regardless of care setting. As healthcare slowly moves into today's technical world of predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, nursing practice will benefit from the increased insight. The nurse will remain as a critical validation point, ensuring accuracy of the data presented and what the plan of care should be.
The ability to compile data from multiple sources and utilize algorithms to present content such as potential risks and potential disease trajectory of a patient enhances the role of the nurse and care team. This is an area that has been a challenge because documentation of data within an EMR, and across our healthcare delivery system, has been relatively inconsistent, even unavailable, in the past.
As clinicians, we have had to provide and plan care for our patients with minimal information beyond what we had assessed. Nurses frequently enter both home care and hospice settings with little to no information except what is learned through family conversations and a basic, paper face sheet. Even that information source may come from another care setting. In spite of the advancement of technology, many providers in our industry are still functioning with limited information and are reliant solely on their clinician's documented assessment.
What changes with the entrance of predictive analytics and artificial intelligence is the activities of our nurse clinicians providing the care. There is a good percentage of time that clinicians spend reading through patient documentation and putting the data puzzle together to determine the best course of care for a patient and family. If information can be compiled and the puzzle of data presented to the clinician prior to care, the clinician is then more knowledgeable and performing nursing activities at a more advanced level, from the first visit to the patient.
This insight helps with understanding treatment modalities that may benefit the patient earlier on, leading to better care quality and improved patient outcomes. These treatment modalities may include the introduction of more technology to better manage the patient, such as telehealth. Telehealth then provides additional data points that feed predictive analytics and AI tools presently available to the clinician, further advancing the level of care he/she can provide.
Additionally, a more comprehensive clinical picture that includes social determinants with valid disease trajectory predictions enhances the approach of the entire care team. Case management and nurse oversight can be provided in a more complete manner because data is readily available to all members of the team looking to improve patient outcomes.Earlier identification of patient improvements and declines enhance the care outcomes for a patient and the nursing practice overall. Important aspects of any technology though are the nursing profession's involvement in defining what is valuable and participation in developing education regarding nursing practice changes that need to occur with this advanced knowledge. As a profession, nurses are key to understanding, validating, and utilizing predictive analytics and AI data in the safest manner, both to enhance patient care and to achieve the best outcomes.
Darcey Trescone, RN, BSN is a Healthcare IS and Business Development Consultant in the Post-Acute Healthcare Market with a strong background working with both providers and vendors specific to Home Care and Hospice. She has worked as a home health nurse and held senior operational, product management and business development positions with various post-acute software firms. To learn more visit www.TresconeConsulting.com. She can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2019 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. email@example.com