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Role of Digital Health, Technologies, and Informatics in Nursing Profession

First key Concept: Telemedicine

Telemedicine has emerged as a dynamic and rapidly growing field in the domain of healthcare. This concept involves different types of consultation approaches, such as digital health applications, video conferencing, and remote patient monitoring (Vargo et al., 2021). Firstly, telemedicine is highly relevant to the field of nursing as it facilitates the extension of services and engagement of nurses in patient care beyond traditional healthcare settings. This is beneficial, especially for patients living in remote, rural or underdeveloped areas where getting access to healthcare facilities can be challenging (Morrison et al., 2022). Secondly, with respect to the concept of person-centred care, telemedicine encourages patient autonomy and empowerment due to the absence of geographical barriers (Atmojo et al., 2020). For instance, through the use of telemedicine, nurses can easily keep track of the symptoms and vital signs of patients suffering from chronic conditions leading to timely interventions. (Haleem et al., 2021). Lastly, in the area of patient-related outcomes, too, telemedicine has proved to be quite promising. Telemedicine interventions have led to a decline in the rate of hospital readmissions, enhancement of patient outcomes and improvement in the management of chronic conditions (Lee et al., 2022).

Second key Concept: Health Monitoring Apps and Wearable Devices

Wearable devices and other apps used for health monitoring have gained significant popularity in recent years. Devices like fitness trackers, smartwatches and biosensors have the in-built ability to track different types of health metrics such as blood glucose levels, heart rate and other physical parameters. These enable the convenient collection and management of health data (Awad et al., 2021). Firstly, with respect to nursing practice, such devices and apps provide nurses with a plethora of real-time data and facilitate gaining valuable insights into the health condition of the patient. This helps the nurse to develop a care plan and interventions which suit the patient's needs and concerns (Haleem et al., 2022). Secondly, regarding the domain of person-centred care, health monitoring apps and wearable devices enable patients to participate actively in care plans and decisions related to health management. In other words, patients can be involved in setting personal health goals, sharing data with healthcare professionals and tracking progress. This encourages a collaborative approach increasing promptness towards timely interventions and reducing the risk of adverse events (Abdolkhani et al., 2019).

Recommendation for Nurses

Firstly, it is essential that nurses actively participate in education and training-related activities to stay up to date with the latest technologies related to health technology. This will help in providing quality care and give confidence to nurses. Secondly, they should regularly educate patients about the advantages of digital health tools and address any existing misconceptions or concerns the patients may have. This should also involve encouraging patients to use health monitoring apps and wearable devices actively (Mthiyane et al., 2018). Thirdly, nurses should ensure data privacy and security while handling and accessing sensitive and confidential patient information. Lastly, they should collaborate with other healthcare professionals to make the best use of digital health technologies and provide comprehensive patient care (Bani Issa et al., 2020).

Reflection on Personal Experiences as a Student Nurse

Being a nursing student has given me the opportunity to observe and experience the integration of digital health technologies through the system of electronic health records (EHR). EHRs, since their implementation, have had a significant impact in the areas of nursing workflow, patient-centred care and interprofessional collaboration. Firstly, with respect to patient care, EHRs have made it much quicker and more efficient for me to access patient information and make informed decisions. It has made it easier for me to identify potential health risks promptly, implement early interventions and prevent adverse outcomes through real-time access to patient data. Secondly, EHRs have led to effective and efficient communication between me and my colleagues and my clients. It also enabled me to share essential information with pharmacists and physicians, leading to collaborative planning and coordination in terms of patient care.

However, there were some challenges, too, which I and other healthcare personnel faced concerning the use of EHR and its involvement in handling patient data. Firstly, adapting to the new technology was a task in itself, not only for nursing students but also for professionals. This initially had a significant impact on the nursing workflow as documentation became time-consuming since it took time to get habituated to the use of this technology. Nevertheless, with appropriate training and support, the majority of us were able to incorporate EHRs into our practice. The second major concern was ensuring that patient privacy and cybersecurity were maintained as consent was obtained wherever necessary. As nurses, it is our duty to safeguard patient data and comply with legal and ethical norms. It was crucial to implement robust and strict protocols to ensure security which involved role-based access control and multi-factor authentication (Aski et al., 2020).

To address this challenge, it is vital that nursing students and professionals show active participation towards workshops and training sessions to stay updated on the threats encountered by cybersecurity practices. In addition to this, healthcare institutions and nursing schools should strongly emphasise the importance of EHR security, and potential susceptibilities should be identified through periodic security audits (Pridmore & Oomen, 2021). Furthermore, it is also essential to ensure patient education related to security measures concerning health care data. This should involve encouragement and active participation of patients in topics and activities related to the protection of confidential data, such as password strength and reporting of suspicious activities. This will lead to the creation of a more security-conscious and collaborative healthcare environment and enable effective and efficient person-centred care for patients (Sittig et al., 2018).

Use of My Health Record in Community Settings

Advantages

The field of community care and the provision and administration of healthcare in such settings have both undergone radical change as a result of electronic health records (EHR). There are numerous advantages to using Integrated Electronic Medical Records (IeMR) and My Health Record (MHR) (Canfell et al., 2022). First of all, care coordination has benefited dramatically from the use of EHRs. For instance, EHRs give healthcare practitioners access to real-time information about a patient's treatment plans, medical history, and lab results. As a result, community healthcare practitioners can guarantee that patients receive complete care that is well-coordinated. Additionally, this results in improved health outcomes and elevated patient satisfaction (Sun et al., 2019). Access to patient information in a timely manner is this technology's second benefit in community healthcare settings. In spite of their geographical location, this feature makes it simple for healthcare providers to securely retrieve patient data. 

In addition to this, it also leads to a more efficient diagnosis and treatment through enhanced decision-making. Thirdly, systems like IeMR and MHR encourage patient empowerment and participation in processes and decisions related to healthcare management. This also leads to increased adherence to treatment and care plans and promotes a stronger relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider (Ganiga et al., 2020). Lastly, EHRs can play a crucial role in the management of healthcare data related to populations. The anonymity of data can make the identification of health trends easier in additon to improving healthcare strategies and preventive measures and supporting public initiatives concerning healthcare (Haleem et al., 2022).

Limitations

However, EHRs come with their own challenges and shortcomings. The first major limitation is the interoperability of this technology. For instance, healthcare providers in various community healthcare settings might use different EHR systems, which can pose a challenge related to the exchange of data coordination associated with patient care. The second significant challenge is the concern related to privacy and cybersecurity. Despite having their own mechanisms, EHR can be vulnerable to data breaches, cybersecurity threats and unauthorised access to patient data. In addition to this, barriers related to technology can pose a roadblock against its complete adoption, especially in underdeveloped or rural areas. This can involve the existence of poor infrastructure and limited internet connectivity, leading to hindrances in access to healthcare (Kilbourne et al., 2018).

Recommendations

There can be numerous approaches that can be used to overcome the challenges associated with the use of EHRs in community healthcare settings. To begin with, healthcare organisations would encourage the adoption of standardised data formats and standards for interoperability across multiple EHR systems to ensure uninterrupted care coordination. This would also require support and assistance from government organisations in addition to collaborative efforts with the healthcare industry (Yi et al., 2018). Secondly, holistic and comprehensive education and training should be provided to nursing students and professionals involving cybersecurity and guidelines related to the privacy of patient data, along with the effective utilisation of EHRs (Bani Issa et al., 2020). Lastly, the principle of informed consent and patient privacy should be prioritised for transparency. For this, patients need to be given complete information about the usage of EHRs, and their consent must be considered for obtaining and sharing confidential data (Piasecki et al., 2021).

References

Abdolkhani, R., Gray, K., Borda, A., & DeSouza, R. (2019). Patient-generated health data management and quality challenges in remote patient monitoring. JAMIA Open, 2 (4), 471-478. 

Aski, V., Dhaka, V. S., Kumar, S., Parashar, A., & Ladagi, A. (2020, November). A multi-factor access control and ownership transfer framework for future generation healthcare systems. In 2020 Sixth International Conference on Parallel, Distributed and Grid Computing (PDGC) (pp. 93-98). IEEE.

Atmojo, J. T., Sudaryanto, W. T., Widiyanto, A., Ernawati, E., & Arradini, D. (2020). Telemedicine, cost effectiveness, and patients satisfaction: A systematic review. J Health Policy Manag, 5 (2), 103-107. 

Awad, A., Trenfield, S. J., Pollard, T. D., Ong, J. J., Elbadawi, M., McCoubrey, L. E., & Basit, A. W. (2021). Connected healthcare: Improving patient care using digital health technologies. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 178 , 113958.

Bani Issa, W., Al Akour, I., Ibrahim, A., Almarzouqi, A., Abbas, S., Hisham, F., & Griffiths, J. (2020). Privacy, confidentiality, security and patient safety concerns about electronic health records. International Nursing Review , 67 (2), 218-230. 

Canfell, O. J., Davidson, K., Sullivan, C., Eakin, E., & Burton-Jones, A. (2022). Data sources for precision public health of obesity: A scoping review, evidence map and use case in Queensland, Australia. BMC Public Health, 22 (1), 1-14.

Ganiga, R., Pai, R. M., & Sinha, R. K. (2020). Security framework for cloud based electronic health record (EHR) system. International Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 10 (1), 455.

Haleem, A., Javaid, M., Singh, R. P., & Suman, R. (2021). Telemedicine for healthcare: Capabilities, features, barriers, and applications. Sensors International, 2 , 100117. 

Haleem, A., Javaid, M., Singh, R. P., & Suman, R. (2022). Medical 4.0 technologies for healthcare: Features, capabilities, and applications. Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems, 2 , 12-30. 

Kilbourne, A. M., Beck, K., Spaeth‐Rublee, B., Ramanuj, P., O'Brien, R. W., Tomoyasu, N., & Pincus, H. A. (2018). Measuring and improving the quality of mental health care: a global perspective. World Psychiatry, 17 (1), 30-38.

Lee, A. Y. L., Wong, A. K. C., Hung, T. T. M., Yan, J., & Yang, S. (2022). Nurse-led telehealth intervention for rehabilitation (telerehabilitation) among community-dwelling patients with chronic diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 24 (11), e40364.

Morrison, K., Hughes, T., & Doi, L. (2022). Understanding the use of telehealth in the context of the Family Nurse Partnership and other early years home visiting programmes: A rapid review. Digital Health, 8 , 20552076221123711.

Mthiyane, G. N., & Habedi, D. S. (2018). The experiences of nurse educators in implementing evidence-based practice in teaching and learning. Health SA gesondheid, 23 (1), 1-9. 

Piasecki, J., Walkiewicz-Żarek, E., Figas-Skrzypulec, J., Kordecka, A., & Dranseika, V. (2021). Ethical issues in biomedical research using electronic health records: a systematic review. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 24 (4), 633-658.

Pridmore, J., & Oomen, T. A. (2021). A Practice-Based Approach to Security Management: Materials, Meaning and Competence for Trainers of Healthcare Cybersecurity. International Security Management: New Solutions to Complexity , 357-369. 

Sittig, D. F., Belmont, E., & Singh, H. (2018). Improving the safety of health information technology requires shared responsibility: It is time we all step up. In Healthcare (Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 7-12). Elsevier. 

Sun, Y., Lo, F. P. W., & Lo, B. (2019). Security and privacy for the internet of medical things enabled healthcare systems: A survey. IEEE Access, 7 , 183339-183355. 

Vargo, D., Zhu, L., Benwell, B., & Yan, Z. (2021). Digital technology use during COVID‐19 pandemic: A rapid review. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 3 (1), 13-24. 

Yi, M. (2018). Major Issues in Adoption of Electronic Health Records. Journal of Digital Information Management, 16 (4). 

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