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Technology is associated with various opportunities in any field, and it is critical to health services delivery. Nursing is one of the areas that benefit significantly from the use of technology. This is especially true for community and public health nursing that is characterized by the use of big data, extensive communication, collaboration, as well as the need to mind the geographical locations of patients. All these features are becoming less worrisome for public health and community nurses due to the use of technology (including nursing informatics and telehealth).
Importance of Informatics and Technology
It has been acknowledged that technological advances have brought new drugs, equipment, and strategies that enable healthcare professionals to provide high-quality care to people. Hughes (2014) notes that people are now living longer lives and healthcare professionals provide more services due to the availability of technology. Information management is one of the areas that have been developed considerably.
Martin and Utterback (2014) state that nursing professionals are able to collect and analyze vast amounts of data. Public health and community nurses can easily access the necessary data and develop strategies to address the most burning issues. Importantly, nurses can provide services irrespective of patients’ locations, which is specifically important in treating people with chronic health conditions who decide to stay home rather than live in specialized facilities.
Telehealth in Current Community and Public Health Nursing
Telehealth is another example of the way technology can bring nursing and healthcare services delivery to a new level of quality. Telehealth can be defined as the use of electronic communication for “transmitting” healthcare data to people “located at different geographical locations” (as cited in Hughes, 2014, p. 340).
Singh, Mathiassen, Stachura, and Astapova (2010) explore the benefits of telehealth in the public health setting and stress that it has a significant positive impact on the collaboration and communication of stakeholders involved (nurses, patients, other healthcare professionals, officials). Home health has evolved considerably due to the use of telehealth as nurses can provide the necessary consultations or even simply check on patients within minutes. Patients can also access a lot of information and improve their quality of life without staying in a healthcare facility.
Cost-Effectiveness of the Approach
It is undoubtful that the use of telehealth in home health is cost-effective and beneficial for patients as well as local budgets. The technology is available as facilities have the hardware and software as well as devices that can be used in telehealth. Patients can also afford to buy the necessary device or, more likely, the device is already available. At that, the budgets cannot afford to employ a significant staff of nurses to meet the needs of communities. Martin and Utterback (2014) claim that the industry went through layoffs and budget cuts, which means that community and public health nurses have to deliver care to more patients and focus on larger populations. Telehealth makes it possible to reach all stakeholders as the Internet can help the stakeholders communicate and collaborate effectively.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the use of technology (for example, telehealth and nursing informatics) is beneficial for the development of the healthcare system. Information is one of the central aspects of nursing professionals’ operations. Therefore, it is critical to managing data effectively. Technology provides the tools to bring nursing professionals and patients closer, and help them communicate and collaborate efficiently.
Hughes, C.K. (2014). Informatics and technology in professional nursing practice. In K. Masters (Ed.), Role development in professional nursing practice (pp. 325-348). St. Louis, MO: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Martin, K.S., & Utterback, K.B. (2014). Home health and related community-based systems. In R. Nelson & N. Staggers (Eds.), Health informatics: An interpersonal approach (pp. 147-163). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Singh, R., Mathiassen, L., Stachura, M.E., & Astapova, E.V. (2010). Sustainable rural telehealth innovation: A public health case study. Health Services Research, 45(4), 985-1004.