In the contemporary technology-driven world, the field of medical performance is extensively using the benefits of automation and improvement of practice provided by technological advancement. The role of technology in the work of nurses is difficult to overestimate. The generally observed shortage of nursing staff leads to a higher nurse-patient ratio and increased workload, which is mitigated using technology use. In their daily practice, nurses employ multiple devices that have become a common part of standard patient care. At the same time, multiple newly introduced technologies enter the nursing practice to help make health care supply more efficient, timely, and competent with the minimum of human factor implied. Therefore, the use of nursing technology is particularly beneficial for both patient health outcomes and nurses’ performance quality.
The Effects of Smart Hospital Beds on Patient Care and Nursing Practice
Smart hospital beds constitute one of the recent nursing technologies that improve the quality of patient care and nursing practice. This piece of health care technology simplifies the work of nurses by monitoring patients’ health indicators and providing nurses with diverse information pertinent to competent care. Smart beds have a wide spectrum of features that are capable of preventing bedsores, pressure ulcers, and falls from bed (Hong, 2018). A patient placed on a smart bed is continuously monitored for body movements, positioning, and vital indicators, which are either adjusted automatically to relieve body pressure against matrasses and correct positioning or addressed by nursing personnel. Smart beds are equipped with motion and temperature sensors that allow for timely monitoring of the bed features remotely (Sonawane, 2017). Therefore, the utilization of this nursing technology allows for obtaining numerous benefits for patient care. Firstly, an immobile patient’s position and pressure are analyzed and monitored by the system to prevent pressure ulcers through automatic air support adjustment (Hong, 2018). Another example of the advantages of smart beds is the ability of the nursing staff to collect information about temperature, blood pressure, and other vital measurements instantly to monitor critically ill patient’s condition and respond to changes immediately. As for a disadvantage, the complete reliance on technology might impair nurses’ communication with patients through standard vital signs measurement procedures, which establishes an interpersonal connection and psychological comfort for patients.
The data generated by this technology include bodily positioning as detected by motion sensors and body pressure as detected by pressure sensors, which are aimed at monitoring for falls and pressure ulcers. Also, the smart hospital bed technology collects data indicating patients’ temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level (Joseph, 2020). Both quantitative and qualitative data are generated by technology, which is represented by nominal and dependent variables. The data collected with the help of smart bed sensors influence short- and long-term clinical decisions. In terms of patient care for individuals in critical conditions, immediate decisions are made based on the changes in continuously monitored vital signs. From a long-term perspective, patients with impaired mobility might be administered intensified pressure ulcer preventative measures when sensors detect increased pressure. Also, an individual approach to fall prevention might be generated when position patterns are detected.
Technology-Generated Data Communication
Clinical decisions are informed by various data retrieved from the smart hospital bed system. The responsible staff members have continuous access to data and have an opportunity to respond to abnormal indicator changes, such as temperature rise or sudden fall, blood pressure or heart rate unexpected or critical changes, and other determinants that necessitate immediate intrusion. The automated information system integrated into the electronics of smart beds distributes signals to the remotely placed desktops.
Thus, the system in the smart bed collects all information from the sensors and transfers the data to supervisors, nurses, and doctors. The critical information about patients in intensive care “is sent to the central system of the hospital and enables health supervisors to instantaneously review and monitor patient’s vitals” (Joseph, 2020, p. 205). Also, besides the regular transition of a set of standard data as reported by sensors, alert messages are programmed to be sent to inform supervisors about sudden alterations in patients’ conditions (Hong, 2018; Joseph, 2020). In such a manner, the information is communicated to all involved parties using the electronic system. It enables the health care staff to work more efficiently and respond to patient condition changes in a more timely manner.
Controls and Patient Safety in Regards to Smart Hospital Beds
The implementation of the smart bed technology in a hospital setting requires ensuring that the staff is competent in using the technology concerning prioritized patient safety. Given the multiple features of the electronic system of smart hospital beds, training for technology exploitation is obligatory for the involved nurses (Hong, 2018). Overall, the technology is designed to ensure an increased level of patient safety in terms of fall prevention and immediate response to changes in vital signs. However, the competent utilization of the technology will ensure benefits for both patients and nursing staff. From an ethical point of view, all the information concerning patients’ health conditions is stored and analyzed by the system and saved to the hospital database for analysis (Hong, 2018). Further, the data are used by health care personnel only for care provision and with the abidance of confidentiality principles.
Evidence-Based Strategies for Technology Use Improvement
Evidence-based practice strategies might be applied to improve the application of smart hospital beds in a health care setting. With the advancement of smart bed technologies, it might be important to investigate the most frequently reported interdependencies between pressure ulcer development and body position. The sensors in smart beds might provide empirical evidence as to the bodily positioning in a particular group of patients. This information might be analyzed and used for the improvement of pressure ulcer care. Also, since the utilization of this costly technology has not yet achieved an omnipresent character, evidence-based practice research should be initiated to collect evidence demonstrating the benefits of smart hospital beds for patient care and nursing practice.
One of the areas where evidence-based practice strategies might be most advantageous is preventing immobile elderly patient harm when hospitalized. The clinical question of the effectiveness of smart hospital bed use for immobile elderly patients to reduce falls and pressure ulcers might be addressed from the perspective of the best evidence and clinical expertise. The implementation of the practice must be initiated and evaluated to gather data concerning evidence-based practice outcomes. Further improvement of the utilization of all the features of smart beds by nursing staff in various health care settings by professionals and caregivers will ensure the delivery of competent patient care.
Hong, Y. S. (2018). Smart care beds for elderly patients with impaired mobility. Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing, 1-12.
Joseph, R. P. (2020). Health informatics-smart bed technology in health care. Juni Khyat, 10(7), 204-208.
Sonawane, K. D. (2017). Design and implementation of smart hospital bed. International Journal of Scientific Development and Research, 2(6), 382-385.