A Nurse’s Perspective on AI and Patient Care

January 26, 2022

In home health care, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used in exciting new ways that make it faster and easier for frontline care professionals and agency staff to do their jobs. Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the way many businesses operate. Fortunately, it is a far cry from the robots seen in science fiction movies – the machines are not taking over.

Many of you may recall seeing the moving Verizon commercial about the amazing things 5G will and won’t do. While the advanced technology helps connect ambulances with hospitals in real time and gives rescuers new tools to locate survivors, it does not have an impact on what’s required for a first responder to put others’ lives before their own and it is not a substitute for compassion.

Today’s AI uses computer technology to accomplish tasks that create efficiencies and make life more manageable and less stressful. People use AI technology every day when they ask Alexa to play a song or they utilize hypertargeted GPS map apps to get to a new restaurant or even to a patient’s home.

Innovations in technology have changed and improved the field of medicine. Advanced diagnostic devices, robotassisted surgery, and advances in medication management and patient communications tools assist clinical professionals in providing care for their patients. AI for home health is no different.

Home health agencies are beginning to use natural language processing (NLP) and AI to improve patient care and support and ease the tough job of nurses. One of the most exciting areas AI is supporting modern nursing is in the summation of the overall patient history and outlining of the immediate care needs. AI enables home health agencies to quickly compile and analyze data from multiple sources faster and more efficiently than ever before. It uses models and algorithms to present potential risks and specific focus of care needs based on identified factors. With this powerful data processing and analytics informing their actions, nurses suddenly have an enhanced ability to clearly see the entire patient picture and more effectively develop an appropriate plan of care.

This is a huge step forward from the landscape as it has been for the last decade.
Nurses are tasked with sifting through large amounts of patient clinical history as part of their daily routine. Often, this data is not applicable to their job or is disjointed at best.

Predictive analytics and AI allow nurses to skip the timeconsuming step of trying to figure out what information exists and how it fits together. These technology tools leap over the data puzzle straight to the solution: the most complete patient profile available. Armed with actionable information, nurses are more knowledgeable and better able to perform their job at a higher level at the initial patient visit.

Equipped with efficient, usable data, clinicians can focus more on hands-on patient care, and less on paperwork – driving better job satisfaction as well as patient satisfaction. When nurses are backed by advanced technology, they have a boost in performing case management and oversight.

While AI, NLP, predictive analytics, and other technology are changing the way nurses approach patient care, nurses remain critical to validating and interpreting the information, and carrying out the actual care and interactions with patients.

AI and other technology will never be a substitute for providing care and can never take the place of a nurse. While technology can provide information and support the work of nurses, it can’t replace the determination, dedication, and compassion that nurses have.

The future is rapidly approaching, and we are fortunate that nurses have a strong role to play in what comes next.
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