Telehealth is the use of communication and digital technology to provide healthcare services remotely. Telehealth nursing has become increasingly important, allowing nurses to provide care to patients who may not have access to in-person care while improving care delivery. Telehealth also has the potential to revolutionize nursing by providing non-traditional practice environments, easing national and regional nursing shortages.
Additionally, telehealth can improve nurse-patient communication, enhance patient education and promote self-management of chronic conditions while increasing patient engagement. As a result, telehealth is expected to play a significant role in shaping the future of nursing.
Graduates of a nursing program, such as the online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), are prepared to utilize telehealth in the healthcare field to the benefit of patients and providers.
The Role of Nurses in Telehealth
Nurses are crucial in providing remote care and monitoring patients through telehealth platforms. They are responsible for educating patients on how to use these technologies, managing patient data and coordinating virtual appointments with providers. Telehealth also allows nurses to provide more personalized care by offering real-time communication and support.
With the rise of telehealth technology, nurses can now work remotely from home or other locations. This enables them to provide care to patients in rural or underserved areas. Overall, the integration of telehealth into nursing practice has the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery and improve patient outcomes.
Impact of Telehealth on Patient Care
Telehealth has increased healthcare equity and reduced disparities by making healthcare available to more people than ever before. Telehealth allows providers and nurses to reach vulnerable populations that may have difficulty accessing healthcare due to social determinants of health, like financial, geographic or mobility limitations. Patients living in remote areas and those in underserved communities can now access healthcare services in the comfort of their own homes. Telehealth services can be particularly beneficial for those with chronic health conditions or limited transportation options.
Telehealth saves patients time and money while reducing provider costs and decreasing wait times. With telehealth comes more frequent patient monitoring and check-ins, including remote monitoring technologies such as Bluetooth-enabled and wearable devices. These help healthcare providers to track patients’ biometric data in real time and adjust treatment plans as needed. Together, these technologies improve patient outcomes, increase engagement, prevent complications and reduce hospital readmissions.
Advantages of Telehealth for Nursing
The COVID-19 pandemic changed how healthcare was delivered and also changed nursing practice. Nurses already experiencing burnout faced the seemingly impossible task of giving even more of themselves. As a result, many nurses either retired early, found alternative practice options or left the nursing profession altogether. As telehealth use increased, many nurses found they could continue practicing nursing without being at the bedside or even seeing patients in person. Telehealth has become a valuable tool for nurses and offers many advantages.
Location and Schedule Flexibility
Working remotely can alleviate many stressful issues simultaneously. Working from home eliminates the commute, travel expenses, the need to prepare or buy lunch, and uniform costs, to name a few. Many remote nursing roles also have options for non-traditional start times, giving nurses the flexibility to set their own schedules. In addition, nurses with a license in a Nurse Licensure Compact state who meet multistate licensure requirements can provide telehealth nursing to patients in other compact states, further broadening their employment opportunities.
Practicing at the Top of Your License
Telehealth nursing removes many administrative duties often associated with in-person appointments, such as preparing forms, setting up the exam room and restocking supplies. Instead, telehealth allows nurses to spend time delivering personalized care, including reviewing labs and biometric data, providing patient education, coordinating care and executing discharge follow-up.
Variety of Work Environments
Telehealth nursing roles exist in almost every practice setting, including hospitals, ambulatory clinics, long-term care facilities, home health agencies and schools. With the wide variety of practice options available, nurses can find the environment that best suits their desire for practice.
Future Developments in Telehealth and Its Potential Impact on Nursing
The future of telehealth in nursing looks promising as the technology continues to advance. One of the most significant developments is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into telehealth systems. AI can assist nurses in making clinical decisions, monitoring patients and predicting potential health issues. Another development is the increased use of wearable technology, which allows for remote monitoring of vital signs and other health data, reducing hospital readmissions and improving patient outcomes.
The Future of Nursing With The Integration of Telehealth
The integration of telehealth in nursing is a positive development that will shape the future of healthcare. Telehealth provides nurses with a range of tools and resources to deliver healthcare services remotely and efficiently. It improves patient outcomes, reduces healthcare costs and increases access to care for underserved communities. Nurses can use telehealth to communicate with patients, monitor their conditions, provide education and support, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals.
According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), “more than 50% of health care services will be consumed virtually by 2030.” Graduates of an online nursing program will be prepared to address this undeniable demand with the necessary skills and knowledge. With the continued growth of telehealth in nursing, patients can expect more personalized, holistic care accessible from anywhere at any time.
Learn more about UIC’s online RN to BSN program.