Nurses to lead the digital health reform
At a time when the aging population is a hot topic of conversation in the media, government and healthcare industry alike, the potential applications for technology and innovations continue to cause a stir. Yet in order for technology such as data, the internet of things and health monitoring devices to be viable solutions for managing the aging crisis, they need to be integrated by those on the front lines.
With this in mind, it's important to recognise the vital role that the healthcare workforce, and particularly those in aged care nursing roles, will play in driving the digital health reform in Australia.
It's up to nurses to take the lead in the digital health reform.
What does it take to propel innovation in healthcare?
Any kind of change in established practices can be difficult, particularly when it involves such advanced tools as home health monitoring and data analytics. In aged care, the challenge is not just implementing new tools, but enabling the clientele to use it. Consequently, the pressure falls on aged care nurses to become familiar with digital heath tools themselves, as well as teach the necessary skills to their elderly patients.
"Nurses have a unique leadership role to ensure a digitally enabled health system delivers on the promise of better health outcomes for Australians," said Dr Louise Schaper, CEO of Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA).
"All nurses must integrate information and information technology into routine clinical practice.They must re-imagine the delivery of health care assisted by technology, in partnership with a more engaged patient and, with greater access to information at the point of care."
Aged care nurses going digital
If the aged care nursing workforce of the future is to be prepared for the digital health reform, there needs to be adequate support and guidance to help nurses develop their digital expertise. Dr Schaper argues that IT skills need to become part of future nursing training if nurses are to get the best outcomes from tools such as "My Health Records."
"We believe there would be resourcing support for aged care providers to help them assist consumers to sign up and implement My Health Records processes and ensure staff, including registered nurses, are equipped to manage the new systems," she told Australian Ageing Agenda..
"We are looking at shaping the current and future roles for nurses in Australian healthcare and that includes aged care. We would like to see a nursing workforce that is able to navigate the digital health landscape on behalf of the nursing profession and their patients."
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