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January 19, 2020

Digital Age of Healthcare & Student Education: Filling the Gap

Those involved in healthcare today are well aware the industry has shifted from volume-based to consumer-driven, value-based care, with a significant focus on patient experience and quality outcomes that tie back to insurance reimbursements.  Because of the shift, the majority of hospitals have implemented quality-focused programs, and use mobile technology that provides real-time visibility for crucial patient data for making evidence-based decisions.  The reality is that mobile technology is no longer a ‘nice to have’; it is the new normal for patient care. 

preparing nurses for the digital age of healthcare

Studies suggest that by 2022, “98% of alarms or alerts from patient monitoring equipment, EHRs, and biomedical devices will be accessed from a mobile device.”  The study also suggests the “use of mobile technologies could reduce 46 percent of preventable medical errors and care issues caused by the breakdown of communication by 2022.”1  Other case studies with nurses further support the use of mobile technology in patient care.  In one such study, nurse managers reported clinical mobility enhances staff communication and collaboration by 67%.  Further, they cited a 42% improvement of information available for evidence-based decision making.2  Statistics like these are driving organizations to make the investment in programs and buy the best mobile technology for nurses to make significant improvements in patient care, resulting in better reimbursements, quality scores, and industry reputation.

Good News, Not-So-Good News

The good news is that seasoned nurses working in busy healthcare organizations are already familiar with and appreciate the value of mobile technology to assist in providing quality patient care. One study cited 65 percent of nurses said they were using a mobile device for professional purposes at the bedside.3  Here is the not-so-good news:  Many seasoned nurses are retiring, the industry is facing a shortage, the population is aging, and some new graduates are unprepared; lacking modern education and experience performing care provider tasks on mobile devices. 

The Disconnect

Some universities and medical schools have struggled to keep up with the changing landscape of healthcare, and many still lack comprehensive, practical education related to quality care processes, specifically while using mobile technology. One recent study showed that only 64% of nursing programs reported successfully adopting technology as part of their curriculum.4  Although many medical schools have technology that includes SIM labs, it often stops there.  Although SIM labs generally prepare students clinically, they do not usually include simulation of important quality and service-related tasks, such as mobile rounding and audits.  This is the critical business aspect of healthcare that affects everyone in the industry. The disparity creates an alarming gap between what students know as opposed to what hospitals expect them to know. Academia still has some work to do to close this education gap to better prepare nurses for the digital age of the healthcare business. 

The Fix

The next generation of nurses entering the workforce needs to be fully prepared to meet quality care and customer experience requirements on mobile technology used by healthcare organizations today.  If not, they are beginning their careers at a distinct disadvantage.  Even worse, the time it takes for training and high-costs related to these fundamental expectations become a burden to the hospital hiring them. Let us not forget healthcare organizations are already experiencing unprecedented staffing shortages. Now is the time when hospitals need new nurses prepared to hit the ground running on day one.

In 2020, nearly all nurses will need to know how to complete some type of round or audit on a mobile device, so it makes sense to include in the curriculum.  The education and practice for students should be seen as core knowledge nurses need to meet basic expectations in healthcare today. The future nurses need to understand the impact of rounding and the relationship to improved outcomes.

Fortunately, it is not as difficult as it may sound for schools to innovate.  It is a matter of them updating the curriculum for students to perform quality-related tasks on mobile technology. The student buy-in is already there.  An ECAR study of undergraduate students & technology reported that over 82% of students cited technology enhanced their learning.Most students already have a smart-phone or other mobile devices on hand, so incorporating mobile technology has become even easier.

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CLARIFIRE HEALTH, the workflow automation application, provides healthcare organizations with proven mobile, real-time processes and features that improve quality patient care and outcomes in healthcare organizations today. Used by nurses, physicians, executives, and the entire interconnected chain of care providers, CLARIFIRE HEALTH is user-friendly, flexible, and has a vast library of processes to choose between. Universities adopting powerful technology like CLARIFIRE HEALTH will provide their students with hands-on, essential education using relevant, innovative technology to complete key processes. Interested in hearing more? CLICK HERE to find out how working with process automation experts with a robust workflow application produces improved outcomes and prepares future nurses for the business of healthcare.


Lauren Walling

Lauren Walling is a graduate of Emory University with a degree in Industrial Psychology, as well as an MBA from the John Sykes School of Business from The University of Tampa. She currently sits on the Board of Fellows at the University of Tampa, and is a member of the Healthcare Business Women's Association, National Association of Professional Women, and the Morton Plant Skip Cline Society. Lauren works with large Healthcare Systems implementing Patient Experience Solutions that streamline processes, increase patient experience and improve quality and safety.

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