How Patient Education and Technology Impacts the Delivery of Healthcare and Nursing Care

Introduction

            The information technologies and the research that result from such technologies has led to newer and better methods in which nursing information is brought to patients. In addition, the use of technology has further influenced the pattern of empirical knowledge in nursing, which has influenced by evidence-based research and experience. However, the presence of evidence-based research is not enough, but there is a need for an educated patient population. Patient education has been identified as an important component of any organization. An educated and knowledgeable population is associated with reduced medical errors, increased participation in treatment, reduced length of stay and increased satisfaction. In recognition of the important roles that technology and patient education play in healthcare, the paper seeks to determine the impact that technology and patient education have on nursing care and healthcare delivery.

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Impact of Patient Education and Technology in Nursing Care and Delivery of Healthcare

            The increased need for patient-centered nursing practice has seen an increase in patient involvement and use of technology in nursing care. According to (Rankin, Stallings and London, 2005) many patients are now more involved in their healthcare care plans. Healthcare providers are now crucial healthcare educators in the various healthcare delivery settings. The evidence shows that when combined with technology, increased patient education is associated with increased levels of healthcare outcomes.

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            The majority of the American population comprise of people in the old age due to the large number of baby boomers. This has lead to an increase in chronic diseases, which often require care to be provided in the home of patients. However, the increasing population, increasing complexity of healthcare and increase in the number of chronic illnesses makes patient education an important aspect of the nursing practice. Patient education increases their levels of participation in nursing practice, which reduces the physician home visits.

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            Moreover, an educated patient population positively impacts on the nursing practice. Patients who are educated play crucial role in their treatment plans, reducing the number of physician visits. Since the American healthcare is struggling with nurse shortage and increasing in patient demands, educated patient population is important in reducing the burden on healthcare practitioners, which allows more time for them to increase their attention to the hospital patients. In addition, the reduced workload is associated with an increase in the levels of output among the healthcare practitioners.

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            According to (Rankin, Stallings and London, 2005) patient education is associated with increased nurse-patient autonomy. Patient education not only increases their participation in their treatment plan, but allows nurses to focus more in primary care delivery. The authors point that increased patient nurse autonomy is associated with increased job satisfaction among the healthcare practitioners. As patients become more knowledgeable, they are able to make informed decisions, through increased knowledge about their problems and treatment pans. This eases pressure on nurses, especially those who offer advanced care, resulting in increased nurse job satisfaction.

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            The biggest challenge in patient education has been the move from the healthcare practitioner deciding for the patient the best care plan, to a more collaborative nature where patient and caregiver make together the treatment decisions. According to (Huston, 2013) traditional patient education models rely a lot on self-care instruction guidelines, written material and medical management. However, modern technologies such as internet, television and videos have changed the strategies in which patient are educated. The use of modern technology has increased patient involvement in healthcare, which is attributed with positive experience among the healthcare receivers.

            Moreover, the adoption of advanced medical equipment and electronic records has increased the levels of healthcare outcomes (Dowding, Turley and Garrido, 2012). In a country where the healthcare is increasingly becoming complex, the adoption of electronic medical records has revolutionized the access to patient medical information and the ease with which physicians offer medical assistance to patients. The use of medical records has now made it easy for patient information to be shared among healthcare providers, better management of patient information and increased efficiency unlike when paper records are employed. The reduced paperwork, increased ease of sharing patient data and proper patient data management has been critical in the increasing levels of outcomes and efficiency in healthcare system that has struggled to cut down on costs.

An Example of a Topic

            An example of the topic where patient education and technology has been used to improve levels of care outcomes is the management of diabetes. According to (Williams, Herman and Kinmonth, 2003) the involvement of nurses and patient education are associated with increased levels of outcomes among patients who suffer from chronic illnesses such diabetes. Moreover, (Hunt, 2015) asserts that technology can supplement the healthcare practitioner by providing motivational and education support. According to the author, the use of technology in patient education can be used to help them in learning new routines and practices that are related to the management of diabetes.

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            More than 90% of American populations have access to mobile devices and internet (Hunt, 2015). However, people who suffer from diabetes may not be able to attend diabetes educational programmes or to attend care schedules due to financial, time and other constraints. Using technology such as mobile health applications, barriers to provider access can be overcome. Mobile health applications allow diabetes patients to get education on diabetes self-management such as exercising, blood glucose management, problem solving, healthy eating, monitoring for complications and taking medication.

            Some of the technological strategies for provision of patient education and care assistance to patients who suffer from diabetes include mobile phones-based and internet-based interventions. The mobile phone platforms provide a real time education and in processing and communication of data (Hunt, 2015).  The features of the mobile phones include the use of mobile internet by patients in uploading the readings of their blood glucose readings and receiving their daily, weekly or monthly blood glucose charts through email. Moreover, patients can use mobile phones to text the healthcare professionals with questions, who in return received response on self-management.

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            Moreover, the use of internet-based interventions provides the healthcare providers with opportunities to offer diabetes patients with diabetes education, motivation and support (Hunt, 2015). The web-based interventions involve the use of computer internet in delivery of diabetes education. The strategy helps diabetes patients to communicate with healthcare providers without time and geographical restrictions.

An Example Where the Topic Impacted me Personally   

            Some healthcare complications require emergency treatment, and this requires that one has access to medical help or medical expertise to offer emergency treatment. However, most people luck skills or expertise given that most of the complications are complex in nature. One example, in which technology and education has impacted me personally was when my niece suffered from asthma complications. Although my niece was on routine medical care, one night she suffered difficulty in breathing. The efforts to use her inhaler did not make her condition better. However, with the help of her mobile phone we were able to get the contacts of her personal physician. The conversation with the physician revealed that she individualized medication to which we were given directions on giving medication by the physician until she was taken to hospital. 

            The positive aspect of the experience is that the mobile phone communication was important in provision of medication guidelines which led to improvement of the patient condition. However, the process can be difficult to conduct especially if one is not a trained healthcare practitioner since some of the guidelines employ medical terms which are difficult for people who have no background in healthcare. This can be improved through a provision of more personalized and user-specific information. This involves collection of patient data and feeding into an automatic web-based platform, which offers condition-specific response, thus reducing time and nature of response.

Conclusion

The use of technology in healthcare and patient education are critical components in service delivery in healthcare. Healthcare technology and patient education can positively influence the levels of healthcare outcomes. The use of technology in healthcare can help in patient education, and bridging geographical and time constraints. Moreover, patient education helps in increasing self-management, increase of nurse job satisfaction and improvement in levels of care. The purpose of the paper was to provide a research on the impact of technology and patient education in healthcare. Through the research, it has been determined that technology and patient education are important elements in healthcare care delivery. Through these insights, increased emphasis will be placed on the importance of technology and patient education in the future nursing practice.

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