5 New Nursing Technologies for 2013

2013's New Nursing Technology

By Tara James, Jul 01, 2013

Every year, creative minds and envelope-pushing companies introduce a crop of high-tech devices and cutting-edge software for the health care industry. Some of the new nursing tools and products in 2013 could help elevate productivity levels, strengthen patient-nurse bonds, and enhance the overall atmosphere and safety of the workplace. Advances in nursing technologies could potentially make job duties easier to execute, or even contribute to a more effective, knowledgeable, resourceful workforce.

Health tech's numerous innovations include these nursing technologies for 2013:

1. Dakim BrainFitness Software

Specifically catering to the medical demands of baby boomers, Dakim BrainFitness labels itself as the only clinically tested brain fitness program for people over 60. The 2013 professional version of the software is meant to assist health care professionals (including nurse practitioners) as they treat older patients with traumatic brain injuries, strokes or general declining cognitive functions. The software can play a part in combating one of the greatest threats to the quality of life for seniors -- dementia.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, one in three U.S. seniors dies with Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia. Research from the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute suggests that consistent cognitive stimulation can lead to reduced risk of dementia. Dakim BrainFitness software aims to keep the mind sharp, which could ultimately enhance the overall brain function and memory of a senior.

Dakim BrainFitness provides varied brain stimulation with challenges that center on short- and long-term memory, language, critical thinking, visual-spatial orientation and computation. The system also self-adjusts to address varying levels of brain function, including patients with mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment.

The goal of the software is to build excitement through the use of brain-fitness activities that cater to an adult patient. With the help of such 20th-century icons as Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Stewart, Louis Armstrong, Walter Cronkite, Bill Cosby, Clark Gable and Rosa Parks, the BrainFitness software uses a fun, engaging approach that incorporates music, movie clips, humor and storytelling to keep seniors mentally active.

2. Panasonic Toughbook Convertible Tablet

Nurses providing home health care are especially in need of efficient ways to digitize patient records and make use of more reliable mobile technologies. Job requirements of home health care workers include being able to handle on-the-go work conditions, access real-time patient data, and oversee the flow of information to an EMR/EHR (electronic medical record or electronic health record). Collaboration plays an essential role, and Panasonic offers new technologies for nurses who are constantly on the move.

Before Panasonic's Toughbook Convertible Tablets, digital solutions for visiting nurses included a PDA-style device. Following the completion of the Bethel CT VNA Case Study (Panasonicforbusiness.com), mobile computing options were created to replace the smaller keyboards and screens of previous tools. The advances in the Toughbook line of convertible tablets equip a nurse with a device that can minimize the fear of malfunction or electrical failure from accidental drops or inclement weather.

Panasonic's CF-C1, described as the lightest 12.1-inch convertible tablet PC in the world (Panasonic.com/au, 2013), provides a business solution for mobile health care providers. An innovative drainage system protects the keyboard and interior from spillage, and the model reportedly can withstand damage from falls more than 6 feet, which protects the hard disk.

Toughbook Convertible Tablets allow nurses to update patient EMR/EHR records remotely, access data at the point of care and share real-time results. Ultimately, nurses may be able to spend more quality time with their patients and less time troubleshooting IT issues. Health care organizations may also be able to reduce costly repairs or equipment replacements related to nurses working out in the field.

3. Mobile Nursing 2013 Drug Handbook

Easy access to current drug information from a variety of sources can help nurses making clinical decisions in 2013. A recent Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) poll involving 3,900 nurses and nursing students revealed that:

  • 71 percent of nursing professionals use a smartphone for their job
  • 66 percent of students use a smartphone for nursing school
  • 89 percent want access to both an app version and the traditional print version of the Nursing Drug Handbook

The survey showed that 85 percent of nurses want a mobile phone app for a guide to generic and brand name pharmaceuticals. For the pocket-sized Nursing Drug Handbook, the publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) now offers such an option. Purchasing the full version of the app also provides access to a dosage calculator and pill images. Available for the iPhone, iPad, iTouch and Android devices, this program is designed for ease of navigation and it also delivers weekly drug updates.

4. Vocera "Good to Go" Patient Discharge Technology

With a focus on just getting out of the hospital, patients may not fully comprehend the details of their discharge. Discharge information can be overwhelming, and patients may zone out or be hesitant to ask questions. In an effort to enhance the understanding between health care providers and patients, advanced iPod technology enables nurses to record discharge instruction meetings as a way to combat preventable patient readmissions to hospitals.

Vocera "Good to Go" application provides an online link to recordings on a secure website that is embedded with other materials involving follow-up care (healthdatamanagement.com). Nurses use an iPod Touch (one without the standard features of the device, such as music) when conducting discharge meetings with patients. Nurse interaction with the patient is recorded by the iPod, including essential questions and answers, and is automatically downloaded to a website. The system securely dispatches a voice file that becomes part of an online package available to the patient via phone, computer or tablet. The new technology not only could help reduce readmissions but also help elevate patient satisfaction scores.

5. Barco's Smart Terminals

The 2013 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition introduced Barco's Smart Terminals for interactive patient care. The integrated hardware and software solution is designed to provide a secure portal for information, education and medical services right at the bedside. This technology can benefit both patients and nursing staff, as it may increase the time nurses have to address pressing patient issues.

The Smart Terminals offer bedside connectivity for patients, who can choose from a range of communication and entertainment functions. Easy access to television, movies, radio, games and the Internet can provide a welcome distraction and potentially enhance a patient's stay. Patients can learn more about their condition and course of treatment, which could result in nurses responding to fewer bedside calls. The system also allows patients to control their own room environment, order meals and communicate with hospital workers -- all of which helps nurses to more efficiently allocate their time.

Barco's Smart Terminals also aim to establish an enhanced workflow to achieve better patient outcomes. Nurses possess instant, secure access to the hospital information system and electronic medical records. The platform equips nurses with tools to help them more effectively manage the admission, care plan and discharge activities of patients.

More health tech gadgets on the horizon

According to an article on ABC News, a computer keyboard could harbor up to five times as many germs as a toilet. In response to the health threats a keyboard in the medical setting poses for its users and patients, Celluon has come up with a projection keyboard and multitouch mouse that takes after its Magic Cube product. The design addresses keyboard viral and bacterial cross-contamination by medical personnel and patients, aiming to improve nurses' working conditions by cutting down the transmission of germs in the workplace, which could also decrease the chances of a nurse getting sick while on the job.

And for maintenance, a single swipe can clean the nonporous, replaceable surface of the Celluon Medical Keyboard. The customizable keyboard layout also works with gloves and a stylus. As of June 2013, the Celluon website promises that this product is coming soon.

Interest is expanding in providing medical professionals with advanced technologies. For example, the participation of more than 250 health and fitness exhibitors at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) reveals a 25 percent increase in this particular sector (centrahealthcare.com). Additional technologies are likely to emerge in 2013 and the coming years as companies and forward-thinkers respond to the growing demand for new ways to help nurses administer better patient care.

ABC News, Your Keyboard: Dirtier Than a Toilet, Dan Childs, May 5, 2008, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Germs/story?id=4774746
Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer Facts and Figures, 2013, http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp
Panasonic, Home Healthcare Providers Take Rugged Tablets on the Road, Scott Thie, Feb 2013 - http://www.panasonicforbusiness.com/2013/02/home-healthcare-providers-tablets/
Panasonic, Sydney Adventist Hospital Dives into the Digital e-Health age with Panasonic Toughbooks, January 30, 2013, http://www.panasonic.com.au/News+and+views/News/2013/January/Sydney+Adventist+Hospital+Dives+into+the+Digital+e-Health+age+with+Panasonic+Toughbooks
ADVANCE for Nurses, Nurses Want Credible Drug Data Apps for Smartphones, Survey Finds, 2013, http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Magazine/Clinical-Wire/Nurses-Want-Credible-Drug-Data-Apps-for-Smartphones-Survey-Finds.aspx
Health Data Management, Nurses Innovate to Tackle the Dangers of Discharge, Gary Baldwin, March 1, 2013, http://www.healthdatamanagement.com/issues/21_3/nurses-hospitals-health-information-technology-innovation-45744-1.html
Barco, Barco showcases world's most advanced software for interactive patient care with Hospedia at HIMSS 2013, March 5, 2013, http://www.barco.com/en/News/Press-releases/barco-showcases-worlds-most-advanced-software-for-interactive-patient-care-with-hospedia-at-himss-20.aspx
Celluon Medical Keyboard, http://celluon.com/products_medic_overview.php
Centra Healthcare Solutions, 2013 Brings New Technology for Therapists and Nurses: A Further Taste of Technology, 2013, http://www.centrahealthcare.com/2013-brings-new-technology-for-therapists-and-nurses
Dakim BrainFitness, http://www.dakim.com/health-care-professional/
LLW.com, Nursing Drug Handbook App, http://www.lww.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_Nursing-Drug-Handbook-App-ios-app_11851_-1_9012053_Prod-9781451184112
Vocera.com, Vocera's Good to Go Solution Wins Dorland Health Award, http://www.vocera.com/index.php/company/pressreleases/130529
Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, Healthy Brain Aging: Role of Cognitive Reserve, Cognitive Stimulation, and Cognitive Exercises, Asenath La Rue, 2010, http://www.wai.wisc.edu/pdf/brainfit/LaRue%20review%202010.pdf

This piece is brought to you by Tara James, Tara is an Emergency Nurse who works and blogs for nursewithoutborders.com. Tara has a great deal of passion for Nursing and the nursing community and hopes to help further nursing careers with her knowledge base and expertise.

Author Bio: This piece is brought to you by Tara James, Tara is an Emergency Nurse who works and blogs for nursewithoutborders.com. Tara has a great deal of passion for Nursing and the nursing community and hopes to help further nursing careers with her knowledge base and expertise.
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