How Telehealth Can Ease the Nationwide Nursing Shortage
Addressing the nationwide nursing shortage is of critical importance; without decisive action, current nurses will practice under crippling stress, quality of care will drop, and patient lives may be lost. With more than half a million seasoned RNs projected to retire by the year 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the need for over one million new RNs to replace them and ease the nursing shortage.
Telehealth Eases the Crunch of the Nursing Shortage
Telehealth is helping to ease tensions of the current nursing shortage in substantial ways, ultimately improving nurse utilization. Telehealth nursing services were shown by recent studies of the American Hospital Association to be of vital importance to patients; in fact, 70% of patients surveyed are comfortable communicating with healthcare providers via text, email, and video. 76% of those surveyed prioritize access to healthcare over the need for face-to-face interactions with their providers.
The healthcare industry benefits considerably from telehealth nursing in many important ways. It reduces healthcare costs by decreasing emergency department visits and hospital admissions. It also is a valuable tool in managing chronic illnesses, and improves nurse utilization throughout hospital departments. Perhaps most importantly, it eases the burden of limited time for nurses who often find themselves stretched thin amidst the nursing shortage.
Benefits of Telehealth in Nursing
Telehealth nursing can be practiced almost anywhere, and it enables nurses to connect with patients without lost time spent traveling, registering, and waiting like there would be with traditional appointments and visits.
There are several additional ways telehealth is helping to ease the burden of the nursing shortage:
- Nurses can support and educate parents in a specific approach with very clear outcomes with the use of telehealth platforms.
- Telehealth nurses can learn about state-of-the-art therapies in medicine without being pigeon-holed into one small area of traditional nursing; they aren’t bound to one department day after day.
- Telehealth nursing allows providers to build relationships with patients over the course of the entire disease process.
- Nurses in telehealth have meaningful contact with patients due to the lack of intrusions, interruptions, and distractions that plague traditional office visits.
- Telehealth nurses are able to spend more time with patients that would otherwise be spent traveling, charting, or running from one patient to another on-site.
- Nurses are more accessible to patients with telehealth, creating the opportunity for an adequate amount of care performed with fewer nurses.
- Nurses are able to experience the business side of their profession, enhancing their acumen in other areas.
Lower Costs, More Attention, Better Care
Telehealth eases the impact of the nursing shortage because it provides easier access to professionals for patients; nurses can better focus on patient care and satisfaction without all the “red tape” of traditional on-site appointments, so efficiency is markedly improved. Nurses must continue to use listening skills, critical thinking, and assessment skills just as they do in traditional settings in order to support their telehealth patients.
Telehealth nurses say their ears become their eyes, and they become experts at noticing even the slightest changes in a patient’s voice. They are able to take the time to build rapport and trust, working through health barriers together with patients, from obtaining education to resolving transportation issues to improving medication adherence…and it’s all done with lower ER costs and reduced hospital admissions.
According to the American Telemedicine Association, 50% of healthcare services might be provided by telehealth within the next five years, helping to balance the need for those 1.1 million new RNs. Providing guidance and support to patients is the main role of nurses; telehealth has already proven that it improves patient access, ultimately contributing to successful healthcare and reduced stress for nurses in the current shortage.
For more information about telehealth technology systems and services, visit www.InTouchHealth.com.