There exist a significant consensus that the health care system in the current generation will need the use of clinical informatics and information technology in the acquisition, transformation, and dissemination of data and information that helps in enhancing the patient outcome in the ICU. Critical and intensive care requires complex decision making.
In the ICU, nurses are supposed to navigate through monitors, software applications, screens, and documentation to help in achieving the best health outcome for the patient (Schujmann, Lunardi & Fu, 2018). Despite the fact that the data and information about the patient are available on the medical devices and monitors at the bedside, it is, at times, challenging and time-consuming to acquire the same information and store in a digitally. Having the necessary medical devices and well-integrated electronic medical record EMR makes the work of the nurse easier in caring for patients in ICUs. Some of the technological elements that are beneficial to the patients and nurses in the ICU are discussed in this paper.
Apart from acting as entertainment to the patients, in-room monitors are beneficial in the management of the patients. The monitors display the patients’ physiological wellbeing information in the form of waveforms and numerical format (Mohammed & Hassan, 2018). The information displayed helps in detecting when the patients’ physiological condition is way from the normal. The monitors can be connected to the nurses’ handheld tablet to help in easing the work of the nurse because it allows the view of the physiologic displays such as vital signs of the patient within the palm of the nurses. Besides, in-room monitor helps in reviewing the imaging results of the patients and easy access to the patient information that can help in patient management and in achieving the excellent patient outcome.
Mobile telemetry unit
Telemetry monitoring is one of the technologies in the ICU that is beneficial in assessing the patients, especially in a situation where there is a nursing shortage. Telemetry monitoring helps in meeting the needs of the patient and relieves the nurse from being overworked, through easy and close monitoring of the patient without necessarily staying at the bedside (Mohammed & Hassan, 2018). Telemetry monitoring enables the observation of the trends of vital signs, ECG waveforms, neurological status, and other several assessments. Every hospital has its own standard in which the vital signs of the patients are being assessed. The monitoring process helps in ensuring the safety of the patients because how frequent the patient is monitored, determines the quality of health outcome for the patient.
The nurse’s smartphone helps in assessing the patient’s physiologic outcome that entails the vital signs and the ECG waveforms when it is connected to the monitor. Besides, the nurses’ smartphone helps in alerting the nurse when the alarm on the patient monitor goes off, and there is a need for patient assessment for any changes in the physiologic parameters. The alarm ensures early detection of changes in the health status of the patient, especially in an ICU where there are inadequate staffing and a shortage of nursing (Schujmann, Lunardi & Fu, 2018). Apart from assessing the physiologic parameters, the nurses’ smartphone helps in two-way communication with other health providers, such as the person in charge of monitoring the telemetry monitors to convey any information on deterioration of the patient’s health status. Despite the fact that the nurses’ smartphone can act as a destructor to the nurses’ involvement inpatient care because the nurses waste a lot of time checking on their phones, it is highly beneficial in communication and detecting alarms from the patient bedside monitor that could indicate a change in the health status of the patient.
A smaller, detachable, physiological monitoring unit
In many situations, the patients are being transported out of the ICU for other health care services outside the ICU. The smaller, detachable physiological monitoring unit helps in detecting any changes in the health of the patients because it accompanies the patient while being transported outside the hospital. Such medical devices help in reducing patient immobility because of the use of static devices such as the in-room monitor. The devices are useful in ensuring that the best health outcome is achieved in patients who are in the ICU.
The electronic patient ID band
Patients in the ICU are prescribed various medications and infusions that can result in medical errors if not well documented and when paperwork is used. According to Mohammed & Hassan (2018), the use of an electronic patient ID band helps in retrieving medications and infusion that are scheduled for the patients to be able to determine the information concerning each medication such as dosage, frequency, duration, patient and route of administration.
Technology has played a vital role in health care and especially in the management of patients in the ICU. Despite the risks posed by technology to the patients and nurses such as medical errors, time-wasting, and tiresome to the nurses, especially those who lack the skills to operate the technology, still the technology has numerous benefits to the patient and the nurse. Technology helps the nurse in easy monitoring the patients and relieve the nurses from overworking related to inadequate staffing. Besides, technology helps in achieving the delivery of better health care to the patient and improving patient outcomes.
Schujmann, D. S., Lunardi, A. C., & Fu, C. (2018). Progressive mobility program and technology to increase the level of physical activity and its benefits in the respiratory, muscular system, and functionality of ICU patients: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.
Trials, 19(1), 274.Mohammed, H., & Hassan, M. S. (2018). How technology will change intensive care unit practice in hospitals. IOSR-JNHS, 7(01), 31-34.