The digital future of nursing: making sense of taxonomies and key concepts
Digital technology is becoming increasingly common in routine nursing practice. The adoption of digital technologies such as video calling, and other digital communication, has been hastened by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Use of these technologies has the potential to revolutionise nursing practice, leading to potentially more accurate patient assessment, monitoring processes and improved safety in clinical areas. This article outlines key concepts related to the digitalisation of health care and the implications for nursing practice. The aim of this article is to encourage nurses to consider the implications, opportunities and challenges associated with the move towards digitalisation and advances in technology. Specifically, this means understanding key digital developments and innovations associated with healthcare provision and appreciating the implications of digitalisation for the future of nursing practice.
The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted nursing practice. One major impact has been the change from face-to-face consultations to an increasing number of virtual appointments (Murphy et al, 2021). In addition, in England, it is estimated that the NHS needs to see an additional 500 000 patients a year for the next 4 years to clear the backlog of patients and meet its 18-week standard for attendance of newly referred patients (Gardner et al, 2020). There has been an unprecedented shift towards the use of technology to provide care and information, for example, primary care services frequently offer virtual appointments and remote consultations via telephone, video calls and text messages and e-prescription services (Hutchings, 2020). During the COVID-19 pandemic it was estimated that up to 46% of nurse consultations were delivered remotely, based on data from April 2020 (Murphy et al, 2021).
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