Wearable technology is moving rapidly from the research lab to practical applications. It is incorporating biometrics, voice recognition and messaging. Very soon, wearable technology will be part of the uniform of most medical, nursing and pharmaceutical personnel. For nurses, the possibilities offered by wearable technology are ever increasing and here are some of the major uses identified for it.
1. Tracking Fatigue Levels
The fatigue level of the nurse and other medical officers taking care of a patient is a major determinant of patient safety. Sensors placed in wristbands or embedded into the uniform of nurses can be used to track the level of sleep or alertness of all the nurses on duty. This information can be transmitted to the nursing administrator, who will use it to track the health status of the entire nursing crew. If a nurse is exhausted then he or she will be given a day or two to rest.
2. Faster and More Efficient Communication
Smart wristwatches and similar gadgets can enable nurses to give voice commands or use gestures to send instant updates on a patient’s condition. They could also be used to send alerts through email or text messages to other medical officers on duty. Wearable devices can make this possible without the need to pick up and use a smartphone. They can be extremely useful when medical teams need to be mobilized instantly during an emergency. Wearables will also help to maintain a more serene hospital environment that will promote faster patient recovery.
3. Virtual Personal Assistant
Gradually, wearable devices will become personal digital assistants. They will remind healthcare practitioners about their scheduled meetings, and help students of bachelor of science in nursing programs in ultra-modern institutions like Rutgers Online University to take notes with the help of speech to text applications. Wearables will also help nurses to view data quickly using gestures. As a virtual assistant, these devices will improve patient safety by alerting nurses about specific steps to take, or warning them to avoid certain pitfalls during a particular procedure.
4. Real-time Access to Patient Information
Nurses and doctors need to have up-to-date information on a patient’s health, especially when the he or she is a critical condition. Experts propose that in future, nurses can wear something like Google Glass that is designed to show patient records, along with vital signs or symptoms on the lens, shortly after coming into the patient’s room. The wearable device will be connected to the diagnostic devices in the patient’s room so that it can receive real-time information after the nurse comes in. Such use of technology will be a vital asset to people studying to obtain an online nursing degree. They will be able to receive information about a patient’s health remotely, but in real-time.
5. Tracking of Patient’s Response to Treatment
As the use of these wearable technologies becomes widespread, some tech-savvy medical personnel could start to teach patients how to use them to monitor their health and improve their well-being. Wearables can help patients to monitor their response to the doctor’s treatment and to receive reminders to take medication. These devices can also help diabetic patients calculate a dose of a frequently taken drug like insulin and to make good choices about their diet and physical exercise.
Although it will take a while to overcome issues associated with health information, such as privacy, the use of wearable devices will definitely increase in healthcare, making it more efficient.