Consider all the manual and repetitive tasks that nurses have to perform every day, performing things like scheduling, medication refills, taking vital signs and performing wellness checks, and more. The stress on the nursing profession has been building for years. It exploded due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving many nurses tired, exhausted and heading for the exits.
For example, a recent survey of 2,500 nurses by staffing firm Incredible Health found that 34% of nurses say they are very likely to leave their position by the end of 2022, and 44% cited burnout and a very stressful environment as reasons. for their desire to leave. Of those considering quitting their job, 32% plan to retire or leave the profession altogether.
It’s not just the stress of the pandemic that has many nurses considering leaving the profession. Almost two-thirds (65%) of nurses report having been verbally or physically assaulted by a patient or patient’s family member in the past year, while 32% report experiencing discrimination and/or or racism at work.
At the same time nurses are looking to leave the profession, the demand for nurses is expected to increase in the coming years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 194,500 average annual openings for registered nurses between 2020 and 2030, with job growth of 9%, according to the American Nurses Association.
How AI-Enabled RPM Can Help Ease the Burden
With automation and artificial intelligence (AI), many of these tasks can be made easier for nurses and other clinical staff, allowing them to spend more time on patient-facing opportunities and of income generation. By being freed from manual tasks, clinical staff can “perform at the top of their license” and apply the full extent of their education, training, experience and expertise to complex work that increases job satisfaction. and provider productivity. Doctors, nurses and other clinical staff embark on this chosen career path for passionate reasons – to focus on helping people – and technology can enable them to do just that.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) includes a wide range of technologies that capture physiological and disease-related data from a user’s home, providing these insightful details to healthcare providers. When paired with an AI virtual assistant that engages patients and provides reminders and feedback for increased patient empowerment, it’s a powerful combination. With AI-enabled RPM, healthcare organizations can reduce stress and burnout for nurses and clinical staff, an especially important consideration at a time of widespread healthcare workforce shortages that are expected to continue.
RPM: Increasing accountability through asynchronous care
RPM technology offers many benefits to providers and patients. Availability of biometric data continuously enables asynchronous care via text or other store-and-forward technologies so patients do not have to wait for follow-up visits or catastrophic events for initiation, escalation or stopping medical therapies. The data provides a means for earlier intervention, remotely or during a return visit, to anticipate common clinical issues such as the need for therapeutic escalation, a change in treatment or the resolution of obstacles to improve the medication adherence and refill compliance.
For patients, RPM technology creates a sense of being watched, combined with reminders and feedback, which can create a sense of personal responsibility. By regularly measuring key vital signs, patient motivation to make healthier decisions to improve this biometric data can also increase.
Additionally, RPM platforms can reduce therapeutic inertia, allowing faster titration of therapies, such as for hypertension and diabetes, over a shorter duration.
Additionally, RPM supports the concept of ‘aging in place’, in which older people stay at home for care rather than moving to assisted living facilities, for example. According to the PwC Health Research Institute, more than 75% of consumers said they were willing to seek home care for anything from a well visit to chronic disease management.
Here are three ways AI-enabled RPM reduces staff burden and provides more insight to improve patient care at home:
- Improve medication adherence: Patients don’t stick to their medication plans for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from common forgetfulness, confusion about whether they’ve taken their pills, fear of potentially harmful side effects, high cost of their prescriptions and distrust of their clinicians. With RPM technology, providers can stay informed of patients’ vital signs, allowing them to intervene quickly to keep the patient on track rather than letting non-compliance lead to unnecessary use of healthcare resources. which may still weigh on the shortage of clinical staff.
- Simplified invoicing and reimbursement: Leading RPM solutions make billing more efficient with automated billing projects, monitoring time tracking, and easy access to claim data for billing substantiation. Technology eases the burden of these back-office tasks, freeing up clinical team members for direct patient care.
- Bringing out information on the social determinants of health (SDoH): RPM facilitates the collection of SDoH-related data, such as information related to economic stability, housing, food insecurity/nutrition, as well as transportation and access to care. With a clearer picture of the non-medical challenges patients face, providers can connect seniors with community organizations to address those challenges, which can negatively impact an individual’s health.
Given the state of the nursing profession, it is unlikely that healthcare organizations can simply get out of this problem. Industry can turn to technology to fill labor shortages that arise when the supply of nurses does not meet the demand.
Home care will only continue to prevail. With automation and AI-powered RPM technology, healthcare organizations can reduce the burden of routine manual tasks on nurses and clinical staff, provide better insights, and allow them to focus more on patient care and improved outcomes.
Photo: PeopleImages, Getty Images
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