Telenursing an Emerging Innovation in Health Sector

Abstract

Studies associated with telenursing have indicated an increased benefit of using technology in the nursing care delivery system. The benefits of using the telenursing technologies range from improved diagnosis and consultations to the development of career options to professional nurses. Most importantly, telenursing have led to the improved patients’ clinical and healthcare outcomes. Each of the benefit areas are related to the patients’ safety concerns.

Telenursing is becoming an attractive and exceptional area in the professionals nursing practice where practitioners are required to develop skills in using the technologies that are applied in the patient care delivery system.

Introduction

Telenursing is one of the practices that has indicated an increased benefits to both the patients and nurses including improved diagnosis and consultations among the practitioners (Hakimnia, Holmström, Carlsson & Höglund, 2014), patients’ observations and supervision (Hebda & Czar, 2013; Hakimnia et al., 2014) and clinical as well as other effects of health services provision (Hakimnia et al., 2014; Hebda & Czar, 2013; Röing, Hederberg & Holmström, 2014).

The benefits have issues that relate to the safety of the patients. Telenursing has been identified as distinctive field due to the applicable technologies in the process of improving the patients’ wellbeing.

Benefits of Telenursing

Diagnosis and Teleconsultation

The researches indicate that the application of telenursing technologies to diagnose a disease and offer therapies is efficient and successful. For instance, Hakimnia, Holmström, Carlsson and Höglund (2014) found that the use of electrocardiogram in remote interpretation and diagnosis was efficient and successful just like conducting the procedure in person. Moreover, evidence indicates that telenursing has been successfully applied in caring for patients with acute leukemia.

In addition, studies indicate that telenursing has been successfully applied in providing education and consultation programs to the nursing providers as well as offering outreach programs and counseling to patients (Röing et al., 2014). The two way audio and video conferencing technologies have been widely applied in education, consultation as well as psychological counseling. For instance, the telenursing technologies that include both video and audio equipments have been use to examine the conditions of the patients as well a means of consultation among the practitioners.

Monitoring and Surveillance

Conforming and holding on to the treatment directions provided by the physician is one of the critical issues that remain significant to the attainment of the patients’ safety. Studies indicate that majority of patients do not follow the instructions provided by the physicians once they have left the hospital (Röing et al., 2014).

The failure to follow instructions may result from miscommunication, deficiency in the acknowledgement of the treatment plan, deficiency in the treatment plan facilities as well as complex therapy schedule that the patient do not understand unless provided with additional guidance (Röing et al., 2014). The impact is the negative outcomes in the patient’s safety. As such, the inventive telenursing technology can be applied to help the situation.

Essentially, the ground-breaking and resourceful telenursing-based technique of delivering patient care has been applied widely to improve the patient’s conformity to the prearranged therapies as well as deal with the associated symptoms (Hebda & Czar, 2013). In other words, telenursing procedures have been applied in monitoring, evaluating and communicating with the patients in the absence of acute care settings.

Besides, the use of technology has a positive impact on the healthcare facilities utilization capacity particularly, the acute care services. In other words, the use of telenursing has led to the patients’ reduced visits to emergency departments.

Besides deficiency in the adherence to the treatment plan, the issues of inaccessibility to quality healthcare, shortage of specialists and nurses have persisted. For instance, the rising figure of outpatients requires supplementary care nurses to provide management, supervision and examination services. Furthermore, additional nurses are required to offer these services as well as medical assistance to the acute illnesses increasingly being diagnosed on the home-based care patients (Röing et al., 2014).

Moreover, most of the outpatients in countryside are not in a position to receive the needed medical care. As such, there is need for ground-breaking solutions to the issues. Telenursing technology offers the most innovative solution to the mentioned difficulties (Hebda & Czar, 2013). Besides, telenursing has been proved to increase the productivity of nurses through the reduction of the travelling distances, time lost as well as responsibilities. Studies indicate that the use of telenursing has led to the increased patients’ compliance and reduced nurse’s burden.

The remote devices, video and audio equipments applied in telenursing contribute to increased home health care processes between the nurses and the patients. Essentially, the use of technologies has enabled the nurses to spend larger percentage of their time to expressly offer the clinical services. As a result, nurses cost-effectively utilize their time in practice while developing their skills and increasing their knowledge in relation to the use of the technology. Generally, the use of telenursing technologies has helped in doing away with the barriers that prevent quality healthcare provision.

Improvement of Clinical and Healthcare Services

Studies indicate that the application of telenursing has led to the improvement of clinical and health services outcomes. Telenursing has been widely applied in caring for patients with chronic diseases ranging from diabetes to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and the Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). Studies indicate that the interventions through the application of telenursing have led to considerable reduction of morbidity and mortality rates (Hebda & Czar, 2013).

The clinical trials indicate effectiveness of the technology in reducing the hospital visits and mortality on the patients with COPD and CHF. In other words, telenursing has aided patients with COPD, CHF and traumatic brain injuries to transition from the acute care facilities to homes.

Some of the Issues with Technology

While telenursing as well as telehealth have been widely accepted and applied in the provision of healthcare services, the issues of technicality and variability in the use of the technology has been raised. A number of nursing professionals as well as patients have expressed concern on the use of technology due to the deficiency in skills, instructions as well as support. As a result, ethical and legal concerns have been raised over the usage of the technology (Sandhya & Geetanjli, n.d.).

The failure of the technology may lead to unprecedented patient outcomes, which in effect may result in the nursing malpractice. Ethical concerns such as ensuring privacy, confidentiality and informed consent have been highlighted (Hutcherson, 2001). However, the uses of telehealth including telenursing have been legalized in almost all states.

Recommendations and Conclusion

As indicated in diverse literature, using telenursing on COPD and CHF have the positive impact on the quality of life of the patients and the frequency with which the patients visit the hospitals and emergency departments. Besides, telenursing has improved the rate at which COPD is managed and prevented. COPD and CHF are manageable and preventable diseases. Telenursing have been found to increase the efficiency with which the patient safety and outcomes can be improved.

The technologies have also been found to be cost-effective in the diseases management. Therefore, the application of the technology should be encouraged in various intervention methods including synchronous interactions, asynchronous care using more advanced technology as well as improved communications between the patients and the practitioners.

References

Hakimnia, R., Holmström, I. K., Carlsson, M., & Höglund, A. T. (2014). Exploring the communication between telenurse and caller-a critical discourse analysis. Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being, 9, 242-255. Web.

Hebda, T., & Czar, P. (2013). Handbook of informatics for nurses & healthcare professionals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Hutcherson, C. M. (2001). Legal considerations for nurses practicing in a telehealth setting. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 6(3), 1-23.

Röing, M., Hederberg, M., & Holmström, I. K., (2014). (Tele)health promotion in primary healthcare centers — an exploratory study. Nordic Journal of Nursing Research & Clinical Studies / Vård i Norden, 34(3), 33-37.

Sandhya, G., Geetanjli, K. (n.d.). Tele-nursing an emerging innovation in health sector. Web.

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