Technology is changing the face of healthcare. It has helped increase process efficiency and improve patient outcomes. Thanks to the proliferation of healthcare apps, nurses have a number of tools they can use to better communicate with other practitioners, make evidence-based decisions and access patient data.
How Apps Are Changing Healthcare
Technology has made healthcare more efficient, effective and accessible. According to a Forbes magazine article on “5 Ways Mobile Apps Will Transform Healthcare,” almost everyone will be using a smartphone in a decade. These phones will have even more capabilities than they do today — information will not only be more accessible, it will also be location-specific.
According to the article, Kaiser Permanente recently made its electronic healthcare system available to its nine million members through an Android app. The app enables patients to do things like make appointments, order prescriptions and check lab test results. This trend is expected to grow exponentially.
The following are some other capabilities that apps have made possible:
Apps have made communication more efficient. Apps have helped remove some of the obstacles inherent in healthcare, such as waiting in long lines or having to guess at the cost of services. They have streamlined and simplified the communications aspects of healthcare. For instance, an app can gauge when you are low on a prescription. Since the app knows your location, it can ask if you want to pick up the prescription at your local pharmacy, then fill the prescription, if desired.
Apps have improved patient access to healthcare. Patients now have access to virtual healthcare, or telemedicine, which is especially beneficial if a person is frail, elderly, has a chronic condition or lives in a remote area.
Apps have improved patient safety. Apps are making it possible for patients to be more engaged with their healthcare providers. Instead of relying on a stack of papers from the hospital, for instance, a patient can rely on an app for the information needed to recover safely.
Seven Good Apps for Nurses
Nurses are using apps to make their workdays flow more smoothly and to improve patient care. You can now access patient data, research drug information, and communicate with other staff more effectively and efficiently.
Here is a look at several apps available for nurses:
Medscape has a family of iPhone- and iPod-friendly apps that make it easy for nurses to access essential medical information.
With the Medscape App, you can look up medications, check for potential drug interactions and visually identify pills. It also gives you access to information on many diseases and conditions. The app can be an invaluable tool for nurses who count on evidence-based practice to make sound clinical choices.
With the CME & Education App, you can keep current on continuing education courses relevant to your specialty.
MedPlus News keeps track of breaking news, trends in healthcare, clinical guidelines and trials.
American Mobile lists NurseJobs, a free app for iOS, as one of its top apps for nurses. The app gives you access to thousands of jobs and includes permanent, per diem and travel jobs. It also has an area to easily apply for jobs.
Evernote is not a nurse-specific tool, but it can be helpful for making to-do lists and saving notes and ideas. You can also use it as a homework assignment tool if you are enrolled in an online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program. Scrubs magazine says the app is helpful for doing online research for papers or homework assignments.
The free Merck Manual App, available for use on iOS, is considered one of the best apps for nurses, per EveryNurse.org. The app provides access to well-researched information on thousands of medical disorders, which is especially useful for point-of-patient care.
One of a suite of apps by PatientSafe Solutions, PatientTouch Clinical Workflows give nurses access to real-time patient information. Features include streamlined access to patient prescriptions and integration with hospital labs.
With this app for iOS and Android, nurses can check the app for CDC-recommended immunization schedules. Other features include hyperlinked vaccine information and a contraindications-and-precautions table.
This app for iOS and Android is an update to the traditional dictionary used in the field for over 100 years. This user-friendly electronic version includes social media elements and access to over 5,000 medical terms.
Nurses have access to a growing number of apps to help them provide safer and more efficient patient care. They can readily access patient data or quickly research prescriptions and medical conditions. They can better communicate with staff and other departments as well as with other nurses across the globe. With more and more people accessing smartphone technology, the number of apps available to nurses will only continue to grow.
Learn about the Columbus State University online RN to BSN program.
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