What Does the Future of Telehealth and Nursing Look Like?
Thanks to COVID-19, telehealth has quickly become standard practice rather than an option only available to limited patients. Telehealth nursing offers several benefits, and most healthcare organizations have already implemented this service or are actively working to do so soon. It enhances safety during challenging times, and it makes obtaining healthcare easier and more convenient. In many cases, telehealth saves patients money too.
If you are a nurse, be prepared for telehealth to stick around for the long haul. It has the potential to continually improve healthcare, and patients have quickly embraced the idea of accessing high-quality healthcare from the privacy and comfort of their own homes. Some nurses can even provide remote patient care from home, which means they have to wash their medical scrubs way less frequently than in-clinic nurses.
So, what does the future of telehealth and nursing look like? Read on to find out.
What Is Telehealth Nursing?
Through telehealth nursing, you can deliver patient care remotely using a computer, tablet or another mobile device. Your exact role may vary, but in general, online nurses do many of the same things nurses do during in-person appointments. Providing patient care, counseling and education from a distance is the primary goal of telehealth nursing.
Remote healthcare has existed in various forms for decades. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused telehealth to expand by leaps and bounds over the last few years. While it formerly only existed in independent entities, it has been an essential part of many hospitals and clinics. Even healthcare plans have embraced telehealth as a means of cutting patient (and insurer) costs.
Telehealth nursing services are set to expand over the next several years. Here are a few things you should expect to see in the future.
Expanded Virtual Health Services for Certain Specialties
There are some services and specialties you can only obtain in person. You’ll never be able to perform surgery on yourself at home with the help of a remote surgical team. And you’ll still need to see your dentist in person if you need a filling or root canal.
However, as telehealth continues to grow, expect to see additional services for some specialties, including behavioral health, dermatology, urgent care, primary care, and obstetrics. While not all services can be offered remotely, expanding access to services that don’t require in-person appointments has become a priority.
Providing high-quality care will remain the focus while efforts to expand telehealth seek to make obtaining medical care easier and more convenient for patients. And the expansion of virtual healthcare will improve patient care should future pandemics or humanitarian crises arise in the future.
Less Strain on Nurses
Burnout has plagued the nursing profession for many, many years. However, the pandemic directed a spotlight on just how serious this all-too-common problem is. It also prompted demands from nurses and patients to reexamine staffing ratios and models and work toward better solutions. With burnout causing countless nurses to leave the industry since 2020, it’s become apparent that changes must be made to decrease the amount of stress nurses face each day.
Providing telehealth services helps keep nurses healthy. In addition to limiting their exposure to infectious diseases, it’s less stressful than face-to-face patient care. It reduces physical exhaustion, too, since telehealth nurses don’t have to spend their entire shifts running from one patient room to the next. The reduced strain of virtual healthcare can help nurses better maintain their physical, mental and emotional health, so it’s something that healthcare leaders will continually embrace. Plus, working remotely reduces the need to constantly wash your jogger scrub pants to prevent disease spread.
Increased Job Opportunities
Nurses are already in high demand. And the rise of telehealth nursing doesn’t just mean increased access to quality care for patients. It also means new job opportunities within the medical field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an average of 194,500 openings for registered nurses (RN) each year until 2030. And they expect employment to grow by nine percent.
Additionally, more than half of all medical services will be provided virtually by 2030, according to predictions from the American Telemedicine Association. That means that many new job opportunities for nurses will relate to telehealth. And since remote nurses can see more patients in less time, the widespread implementation of virtual healthcare services could help alleviate the nursing shortage that has plagued the industry for years.
Telehealth nursing has grown exponentially in recent years. From big-city hospitals to rural doctors’ offices, nearly all healthcare organizations have implemented this technology or expanded their service offerings. Telehealth is here for the long haul, so it will continue to grow and expand in the future, leading to new job opportunities. The best part? You don’t need any special certifications to become a telehealth nurse. As long as you have a nursing degree and an active nursing license, and one to two years of face-to-face nursing experience, you’re qualified for the job.
If you think working in telehealth nursing could be right for you, work on continuously expanding your knowledge and developing new skills. With telehealth technology advancing at the speed of light, you need to stay on top of the latest developments. In doing so, you’ll be prepared for whatever the future of telehealth and nursing holds!