It’s hard to imagine a world without the technological “luxuries” we have today. From smartphones to artificial intelligence, the digital world excels in many ways, especially in the healthcare industry. As healthcare facilities switch to technologically advanced institutions, the rise of digital transformation cannot be ignored.
According to Digital Directions, digital transformation “is the process of using digital technologies to create new or different business processes, products, or services. This can include anything from automating manual processes to developing new customer-facing applications.”
Programs like the online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Informatics from Northeastern State University equip nursing professionals with up-to-date knowledge on digital resources in healthcare, the significance of digital transformation to healthcare and how to apply these tools in practice.
According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), digital transformation has a substantial role to play in optimizing hospitals’ operational decision-making, which can lead to improvements in the quality and efficiency of care and patients’ access to it.
There are four major steps in the digital transformation process. HBR states that these steps include, but are not limited to:
- Patient flow. To ensure the healthcare facility has enough resources and rooms for patients and healthcare providers, admissions must be accurately recorded. Digital transformation allows practitioners to digitally record information as soon as resources are used. Healthcare informatics also records patient data to stipulate the specific type of care an individual needs.
- Staffing. Administrators can keep track of all employees with digital transformation. Instead of utilizing hard-copy papers and spreadsheets to request time off or keep track of work schedules, nurses can easily access staffing schedules through digital devices. This system ensures facilities will not be understaffed (or overstaffed) each day.
- Scheduling. Informatics can help healthcare professionals schedule patient visits, surgeries and various other procedures. This technology allows patients to cancel without engaging in a long process or proceed with pre-procedure documents. Scheduling capabilities via digital transformation also helps track how long a procedure should take and when it is expected to start.
- Supply chain management. With digital transformation monitoring all supplies within the facility, nurses have more time to spend with their patients. When a resource becomes low in stock, healthcare technology orders more items for the supply chain.
Digital transformation has proven to have a positive impact on the healthcare world. Still, technology is not completely infallible. It can fail at times and divert from the task at hand. This is a normal occurrence but can easily be fixed if the proper precautions are in place.
Using Digital Transformation to Improve Patient Care
To improve patient care, many healthcare facilities have implemented full digital transformation within their institutions. This transition ensures procedures run smoothly and all patient information stays timely and confidential.
Deloitte Insights states, “The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the convergence of several trends in the healthcare industry, particularly consumers prioritizing convenience and access to care. Leading health systems view digital transformation as a way to become more consumer-friendly while simultaneously changing their operations, culture and use of technology.”
The ultimate goal for the future of digital tools in nursing is to transform relationships with patients. To do this, healthcare facilities must consider healthcare from the patient’s perspective. Once they have formed this mindset, they should replace digital policies with concepts important to the patient — especially among those who prefer virtual formats or online healthcare. This will foster the growth of digital transformation in the healthcare industry.
Top Priorities and Concerns
Among the priority of adapting to patient needs, one of the concerns of digital transformation includes budgeting and key performance indicators (KPIs) for years to come. “The quality and quantity of talent to support digital transformation initiatives is one of the biggest barriers to overcome,” and top priorities for interviewees include “investments in data interoperability and creation of the right to KPIs,” explains Deloitte Insights.
As new technologies and advancements are introduced into healthcare, more patients will be able to receive care at their convenience.
Optimize the Use of Healthcare Technology With a Master’s Degree
One way to embrace healthcare technology as a nurse is to further your career and earn your MSN degree. Those who enroll in the online MSN in Nursing Informatics program at Northeastern State will deepen their knowledge of cultural perspectives, advanced research and evidence-based practice that impact current issues and trends facing nurses.
Students will learn how to meet the growing demand for nurses with specialized knowledge in data management. The intensive program allows all students to manage information, technology and resources effectively in order to demonstrate quality leadership techniques.
For example, the Foundations of Nursing Informatics Practice course covers the basics of knowledge management and information systems used in healthcare settings. In the Policy, Ethics, & Quality course, students delve into policy decisions and related matters that shape the organization, financing and implementation of healthcare services.
Each graduate will obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to enter influential roles in the healthcare field, such as nursing systems analyst or informatics nurse specialist. With the accelerated options available, students can get on their career path sooner rather than later — completing the coursework in as few as 12 months.