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Artificial Intelligence & Nursing

Technology is now part of everyday life. Daily tasks are accomplished through the use of computers, smartphones, laptops and software applications. Many people now order groceries, schedule appointments, call for car service or vacuum their houses by using devices with artificial intelligence (AI). So, it is not surprising that AI is making headway in healthcare. Programs like an online registered nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) prepare nurses to be agile to changes in the healthcare landscape.

What Do Nurses Need to Know About AI?

AI is computing hardware that can think for itself, and it is changing the delivery of patient care. Nurses who want to advance in their careers need to be open to learning about and understanding new technology. And, they should participate in the development and implementation of technology to ensure that it is going to help improve patient care while maintaining safety standards. With AI, nurses may be able to personalize patient care through the following: 

  • Monitoring population health.
  • Pinpointing the best patient outcomes.
  • Administering treatments optimized for each patient.
  • Finding evidence that pertains to the individual patient.

How Is AI Being Used in Nursing Today?

A link between technology and healthcare has always existed. But the increasing sophistication of AI along with its efficiency are transforming healthcare. Currently, AI in healthcare covers these eight areas of nursing:

  1. Decision-making - AI aids nurses in carrying out appropriate measures for patient care through the use of predictive analytics. Clinical decision support (CDS) is an application that typically is part of an electronic health record (EHR) system. CDS provides nurses with additional knowledge so they make informed decisions, create alerts about medication interactions and determine treatment options.
  2. Diagnosis - IBM's Watson for Health is using medical information from journals, case studies, and a database of symptoms and treatments to assist nurses with patient care.
  3. Early detection - Diseases like cancer are caught in early stages. Mammograms result in a high rate of false positives. AI reviews and translates mammograms with a 99 percent accuracy which reduces the need for unnecessary biopsies.
  4. End-of-life care - Robots with AI interact with the elderly to combat loneliness and social isolation. They are capable of serving, fetching, communicating and offering emotional comfort.
  5. Healthy living - Health applications encourage healthier behavior and management of health conditions.
  6. Research - AI is being used in drug research to streamline discovery and repurposing operations.  
  7. Preparation - AI can produce naturalistic simulations to prepare nurses for all kinds of scenarios.
  8. Treatment - Nurses can gather information from AI systems to form a comprehensive care plan for their patients.

What Is the Future of AI in Healthcare?

In the future, patients may enter an emergency department and be greeted by a computerized, triage nurse. The computer may apply advanced algorithms to ask the patient questions based on their answers. Robots may also be used to draw blood, develop real-time nurse schedules or check room availability for admitting patients. Other innovations include:

  • TAVIE - A virtual nursing platform that nurses can use to educate patients about how to manage their medical conditions and live a healthy life. Patients answer multiple-choice questions that TAVIE puts into an algorithm to select form a vast collection of educational videos.
  • Smart shirts - Wearable technology that uses AI to detect the onset of chronic diseases. Sensors assess changes in aerobic responses. Data is then used to predict the occurrence of Type 2 diabetes and respiratory or cardiovascular disease.
  • Machine learning - Advanced analytics can be used to predict the likelihood that a patient may suffer from a stroke, coronary artery disease or kidney failure. Machine learning analyzes previous blood pressure readings and lab test results, and it considers the patient's race, gender, family history and socioeconomic status along with the latest clinical trial data. Then nurses can apply the personalized information to forming a healthcare plan.  

Much of nursing is based on clinical trials, studies, protocols and time-tested methods. However, AI utilizes algorithms or predictive models to assess data about patient populations and breaks it down to provide accurate and personalized solutions for the delivery of care. Since healthcare is rich in data, AI is a natural fit for integrating into the nursing practice. Nurses can use AI to enrich the nursing practice by aiding nurses in making sound clinical judgements, educating them, and supplementing their experience.

Learn more about the UNCW online RN to BSN program. 


Sources:

HealthIT.gov: Clinical Decision Support

Health Catalyst: Real-World Benefits of Machine Learning in Healthcare

Wearable Technologies: Combining Wearable Tech and AI Could Help Predict Onset of Diseases

The Conversation: Nurses of the Future Must Embrace High-Tech

American Hospital Association: Understanding Artificial Intelligence in Health Care

Canadian Nurse: Artificial Intelligence, Automation and the Future of Nursing

TechRadar: What is AI? Everything You Need to Know

PWC: No Longer Science Fiction, AI and Robotics Are Transforming Healthcare

Policy Options: Why AI Needs Nursing

Nursing Management: Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence

Engadget: Robot Caregivers Are Saving the Elderly From Lives of Loneliness

Healthcare IT News: AI Technique for Mammography Shows Promise for Improved Accuracy

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