Smart hospitals: The integration of IoT and healthcare

 As with every industry, healthcare facilities are changing rapidly due to the increasing integration of technology. Many technology applications are improving the patient experience from robotic surgeries to self-check-in kiosks. 

How technology is changing the future of healthcare

Something that has long been an issue in healthcare settings is the patient’s accessibility to information about diagnoses, medications, and prognoses. Patient care has become more patient-focused as opposed to medical provider-focused. 

As technology continues to change the way hospitals and other medical facilities operate, these providers will be able to integrate medical records, insurance coverage, real-time health updates, and more for immediate patient access. 

If the role of a nurse in a smart hospital appeals to you but you don’t have a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree, there is an accelerated program called the ABSN that will interest you.

The ABSN for professionals 

If you are ready to change careers and want to pursue a nursing position, you might think you have to start at the beginning and earn an entirely new degree. However, you will be happy to learn that individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree can transition into the field of nursing with an ABSN degree. 

If you are wondering what does ABSN stand for, it means Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a degree that can take as little as sixteen months to complete. The need for skilled nurses continues to rise and surpass the rate of those graduating with a nursing degree. The ABSN was developed to meet that need by offering a path to earn your nursing credentials in a reduced amount of time. 

How the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing works 

This accelerated degree utilizes your prior coursework as the foundation and builds on that knowledge with nursing-specific courses. It is designed to teach theoretical and practical nursing skills so you can become a nurse in a shortened amount of time. 

The ABSN is unique in that it focuses on the following: 

·        Individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field

·        Completed in sixty credit hours

·        Can take as little as fifteen months to complete

When you complete the ABSN requirements, you must take the National Council Licensure Examination RN Examination (NCLEX-RN exam) to become a licensed registered nurse. 

How the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing relates to a smart hospital 

More people are choosing nursing as a second career than ever before. One of the primary advantages of pursuing an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is that many times you are already technologically savvy and can adapt those skills with the nursing skills to offer patients a high degree of care.

Hospitals have shifted to recruit students who graduate with this accelerated degree because they are often older in age and more mature than a classic newly graduated nursing student. In addition, they have a broader skill set due to work experience that translates well into a medical setting. 

Many people who choose nursing as a second career have life experience in critical thinking, problem solving, navigating diverse interpersonal relationships, balancing work and personal life, and more. These abilities translate well into a medical setting where work can sometimes be chaotic and unexpected emergencies happen. 

The combination of technology skills and life skills can make an exceptional nurse. 

Technology is creating smart hospitals

Technology is significantly changing the hospital experience through closer attention to safety procedures by ensuring that people have the proper credentials to be onsite. Many units require a card swipe or fingerprint for admission, reducing the number of employees and visitors who come and go there. 

There are vendors, drug representatives, and machine representatives who need access to certain areas of the hospital or medical facilities. A nearby kiosk can scan credentials to ensure no one enters who does not belong. 

As part of the adaptation to more expansive technology, kiosks, mobile credentialing apps, digital dashboards, and data repositories can automate the check-in process for a number of individuals.

Improved hospital disinfection practices  

Some hospitals have transitioned from people cleaning and sanitizing hospital rooms to people cleaning with robots handling the sanitizing process. The robots can disinfect thousands of rooms each day with pulsed xenon technology that emits intense bursts of UV light. 

Digital medicine dispensation practices

A smart-solution strategy for dispensing medicines is the automated dispensing machine. This machine delivers computer-controlled storage, tracking, and dispensing of medications in a hospital and medical center setting. Medical personnel can only access the medications for their patients by swiping their IDs. 

Since the dispensing machines travel to the floors instead of the medical personnel retrieving medications, the process is more efficient and streamlined. Access to multiple medications is reduced and accountability is higher, especially for narcotics and other controlled drugs. 

Fully electronic patient records 

More and more medical offices and hospitals are utilizing electronic patient records. This gives patients direct access to their tests, results, prescriptions, and more. Because patients can see their records without having to go through a receptionist, nurse, and doctor, communication is faster than ever.

How IoT is changing healthcare interactions 

IoT is an acronym for the “internet of things.” It refers to digital devices and technology products like smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and more that allow a person to access information from anywhere in the world.

IoT or smart devices are characterized by two features: they can access the internet and they have inbuilt technology that supports network connections. These devices offer a number of significant advantages, such as:

·        They provide better automation and control in a medical setting.

·        They save time and money by automating tasks.

·        They increase efficiency which improves patient care and quality of life while in the hospital.

Healthcare monitoring devices and IoT

Within and outside of the hospital, there are healthcare monitoring devices that transmit data to doctors, patients’ charts, physician assistants, and other healthcare professionals. The innovative aspect of these smart devices is that the patient does not need to be in any medical facility to have information tendered to healthcare providers. 

These monitoring devices change the landscape of healthcare in multiple ways, especially since the patient does not need to go into the doctor’s office or hospital to give the doctor information. 

Remote patient monitoring

Smart monitoring devices can transmit information about a patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and more which eliminates the need for the patient to be physically present. The monitoring devices can follow an algorithm to alert the doctor when the patient needs treatment. This technology has implications for surgeries, heart devices, and other procedures that have traditionally required hospital stays. 

Heart rate monitoring

Smart heart rate monitoring can detect fluctuations in rates without heart patients having to be hooked up to physical machines. While the heart rate monitor does not deliver accurate results one hundred percent of the time, it is accurate enough to give the doctor a clear picture. 

Glucose monitoring 

Millions of Americans have diabetes and smart glucose monitoring devices have transformed checking glucose levels. Whereas diabetes patients had to check their glucose at certain intervals, smart glucose devices monitor the levels constantly. 

These devices have two more clear benefits. First, they can indicate a problem faster than ever before, and second, they record the levels for a clearer picture of the fluctuations. 

Mood monitoring and depression 

A difficulty for doctors treating patients for depression has been the lack of ways to monitor moods. Although a medical provider can ask a patient how they are doing, that is one moment out of thousands. Mood monitoring devices collect information about the heart rate blood pressure, and eye movement to detect trends in moods over time. 

Hygiene monitoring for medical offices and hospitals 

Studies show that hand hygiene, specifically hand washing and hand sanitizer, can reduce infections in medical settings by over sixty percent. Many hospitals have adopted the practice of using IoT devices to detect whether a provider has washed their hands, dramatically improving the transmission of germs. 

Connected inhalers 

Smart inhalers can help patients with COPD and asthma anticipate an attack so they can use their inhalers faster to minimize the attack. These inhalers collect data that helps doctors understand what triggers an attack and alert the patient when they have forgotten the inhaler at home. 

Ingestible sensors 

Ingestible sensors can travel through the digestive system to collect information without the discomfort of having to endure a probe. They detect internal bleeding and high stomach acid, sending information to the doctor about various states of the digestive tract and system. 

Parkinson’s Disease monitoring 

Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes involuntary and jerky movements. To understand how severe the disease is, doctors need ongoing information about how the symptoms fluctuate from day to day. A Parkinson’s disease monitor lets the patients live in their own homes and go about their lives while collecting data that helps doctors choose treatment plans. 

Connected contacts

Google has patented a connected contact that collects data as you wear the contacts. They can eventually contain microscopic cameras that take pictures, making the eyes into a tool for digital interactions. 

Robotic surgery

Some surgeries can now be performed with small connected robots, allowing surgeons to perform complex procedures with the tiniest incisions. The robots can access places that would require an extensive incision when a surgeon performs the surgery. The smaller incisions and less invasive procedures dramatically reduce recovery time.  

Career opportunities for Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates 

The career opportunities for nursing graduates from an accelerated program are the same as for nurses who have a four-year nursing degree. However, the skills you bring from your previous career can set you apart from the rest of the graduates. Here are some nursing opportunities you can pursue.

Burn Unit Nurse 

The role of a burn unit nurse is to care for patients who have suffered severe burns on their bodies. The burns can be caused by chemicals, fire, oil, or electricity. 

A burn nurse must be ready to handle pain management, fluid retention, triage, and patient stabilization. You work closely with other medical professionals to manage the wounds of those who are in emergency rooms, burn units, trauma centers, and intensive care. 

Emergency Room Nurse

As an emergency room nurse, you can expect to make many decisions that affect patient care with room for error. You will see people who are sick with the flu, babies who are sick and the parents are stressed and worried, and emergency victims who are fighting for their lives. 

When nursing is your second career, you have likely learned how to remain calm in trying circumstances and can make good decisions in a short amount of time. This can be the ideal nursing job to use the skills you have learned over the years in another job. 

Travel Nurse

When you love to travel and enjoy new situations, becoming a travel nurse can be a good job fit. As a travel nurse, you will take an assignment at a hospital for an agreed upon time period. You  might not necessarily be able to specify which unit you want to work in so you need to have a flexible spirit. 

Once the travel nurse contract is complete, you can choose a new contract in another location. Being a travel nurse can be wonderful for people who love to learn new things and can adapt to new places well. Jumping in to be a part of an existing nursing team can be difficult at times but it can also be the perfect chance to grow and learn new skills. 

Informatics Nurse

An informatics nurse is a specialist position in which you provide information about new work flows, teach nurses to use new and complex machines, implement new technology for a better patient experience, assess the analytics to apply data to a process, and other technology-related responsibilities.

This role is at the intersection of medical data, technology, and analytical science, making it perfect for someone with prior career experience in informatics. 

Diabetes Management Nurse

Diabetes management nurses help patients with diabetes manage their condition. You educate them on lifestyle changes and administer medications to help control the disease. 

Diabetes nurses help patients avoid dehydration, prevent nerve damage, and care for wounds that won’t heal due to the disease. You work closely with the family of the diabetic to ensure they receive the best care while at home.

Geriatric Nurse

A geriatric nurse cares for elderly patients. The aging population is growing faster than many healthcare providers can provide aid so this is an expansive field with many opportunities. No two days will be alike in geriatric care.

You assess their mental and physical health and discuss ongoing health concerns with them and their families. Many geriatric patients take several medications and you ensure the family understands when they are to be taken. 

Geriatric nurses can also work in surgical settings to care for elderly patients who need unique care before and after surgery. 

Legal Consultancy Nurse

As a legal consultancy nurse, you act as an analyst, collaborator, researcher, strategist, and educator. Your work occurs at the intersection of healthcare and the law. 

You participate in patient interviews, reviewing medical charts and notes, and identifying standards of care. You may be part of drafting legal documents and testifying in court. Through research, you assemble evidence for a trial and help with depositions.

Health Policy Nurse

When you like being part of decision-making at the government level, you can choose the route of becoming a healthcare policy nurse. This nurse works with policymakers to improve healthcare for many people.

You are also a voice for healthcare workers, working to ensure their employment conditions are good and compensation is fair. This is a great position for those who love leadership roles and thrive in working for the good of other people. 

Health Coach Nurse 

Many large corporations employ nurse health coaches to assist employees with wellness habits. You work with employees one on one or in a small group to educate them on habits that can improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Some topics you cover would be stress management, weight loss, and exercise. 

If you like helping people improve their health and mental wellness, becoming a health coach nurse is a good position.

Clinical Research Nurse

Becoming a clinical research nurse will allow you to work in a clinical, medical, or pharmaceutical research setting to collect data that can spur new medical discoveries. You study diseases and various disorders to find new medications and treatment approaches that improve the lives of patients. 

You would be part of clinical studies and lab work to conduct research in medical field of particular interest. Many clinical research nurses collaborate with other researchers to understand diseases and their treatments better. 

You attend scholarly conferences to share your work and hear what others in your field have learned. 

Nurse Educator 

The job of a nurse educator is to instruct nurses on new procedures, changing medical approaches, and ongoing certifications that must be updated. You can also work with nursing students in their clinicals to help them choose the best medical unit or division for their abilities and interests. This is a vital role in nursing to educate aspiring and existing nurses on many aspects of the job. 

Almost every hospital and medical center utilize technology for surgeries, patient monitoring, and other applications to ensure patients receive the best possible care. If the idea of using your prior work experience to become part of a dynamic nursing career is appealing, you should look into earning an accelerated bachelors of science in nursing. 

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