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How Family Nurse Practitioners Can Use Technology to Benefit Patients

Healthcare has become increasingly digitized, and family nurse practitioners (FNPs) can leverage these various technologies to improve patient care and outcomes. In fact, a recent article published in The BMJ says the digital future will likely impact nearly every aspect of the nursing field, from nursing education and virtual models of care to artificial intelligence and patient-provider interactions.

FNPs who can adapt to the changing healthcare landscape, explore emerging technology and integrate it into their practice may achieve the greatest clinical benefits for their patients. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Family Nurse Practitioner online program from Northern Kentucky University (NKU) guides students through these new dynamics. The curriculum focuses on primary care through the lifespan and refines decision-making and interpersonal communication skills to prepare graduates for emerging practice environments and technological tools.

How Does Technology Intersect With Primary Care Nursing Practice?

While many healthcare providers will utilize technology in their practices, the digital world may significantly impact primary care clinicians, who will likely use telehealth more and more to improve patients’ health and self-management skills. According to a JMIR Nursing article, information technology solutions can assist FNPs in delivering care, allowing them to “monitor, educate, follow up, collect data, and provide multidisciplinary care, including remote interventions, pain management, and family support, in an innovative fashion.”

In addition, although FNPs work with patients of all ages, they may find that young families are more receptive to and comfortable with telehealth services than previous generations — a trend that may continue with future generations, as reported by Healthcare IT News.

What Types of Technology Might FNPs Use in Clinical Practice?

Here are some technologies FNPs may use and the benefits for patients:

  • Telehealth uses technology to deliver healthcare services remotely, becoming more popular and accessible as cell phone ownership has grown. FNPs may use telehealth to conduct virtual visits, which may be especially helpful for patients who live in rural or remote areas, have mobility issues or do not have reliable transportation. Telehealth can save patients time and money and reduce the risk of exposure to infectious diseases that could exacerbate a patient’s current condition.
  • Patient portals. Often used in conjunction with telehealth, patient portals are secure websites that allow patients to access their medical records, request prescription refills, schedule appointments and communicate with healthcare providers. FNPs can encourage patients to use portals to stay informed about their health, ask questions, review test results and actively participate in their care.
  • Wearable devices. Wearable devices — like fitness trackers, smartwatches and blood pressure or ECG monitors — collect valuable information about patients’ health and activity levels. This information can assist FNPs in identifying trends, monitoring chronic conditions and motivating patients to adopt healthier habits.
  • Mobile health apps. Mobile health apps, or mHealth, help patients manage their health by monitoring medication adherence, tracking symptoms or dietary patterns and providing education on health conditions. FNPs can recommend specific apps based on patients’ particular needs and preferences.

How Can FNPs Embrace Technology to Enhance Patient Care?  

FNPs must rethink how they — and how patients — engage with technology. They can then usher in new care models that fit patients’ busy lifestyles, meeting the demand for personalized healthcare solutions and a more digitized, responsive practice setting. In coherence with principles of caring, FNPs can use technology to meet patients where they are, customize solutions, offer support and engage patients in their care. Still, FNPs may need to remain mindful of privacy and security concerns and take the time to walk patients through the benefits of these tools and the protections in place.

Technology can be a powerful tool for FNPs to improve patient care and outcomes. By staying current with the latest technology trends and incorporating them into their practice, graduates of an MSN – FNP online program can provide patients with more efficient, effective, personalized care.

Learn more about NKU’s MSN – FNP online program.

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