Nursing is a timeless profession, but that doesn’t mean the role is prone to stagnation. If anything, nursing is a field that is constantly changing. Much like the shift in locations you’ll experience as a traveling nurse, the tech you use on the road will change as well. In fact, with the explosive growth of telehealth services in recent years, tech is more important to the job than ever before.
Telehealth is one of the top trends transforming nursing right now. Being accessible enough to take advantage of this service can maximize your potential to work while on the road, but it requires the right understanding and preparation. From insight to equipment, you can increase your telehealth accessibility as a traveling nurse.
The Rise of Telehealth
First, it helps to understand the rise of telehealth and its many applications. While the popularity of this virtual service was limited before the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing measures revealed the many benefits virtual care can offer patients. As a result, telehealth changes the healthcare industry by increasing affordability, accessibility, and demand across this valuable service.
Telehealth has allowed care providers to turn this crisis into an opportunity to innovate. In turn, patients are getting questions answered without having to travel or risk catching a virus-like COVID-19 as they wait in a clinic lobby. For patients and providers alike, this maximizes accessibility and safety of care, which is why the popularity of virtual care appointments remains strong.
Generational trends show that telehealth is likely here to stay. With 74% of millennials reporting that they prefer virtual to in-person appointments, nurses must be prepared to meet patients on their terms. Because of this increased demand, it’s even more important for traveling nurses to ensure they have the tools available to receive, treat, and monitor patients remotely.
Addressing Telehealth Troubles on the Road
Although there may be an increased demand in telehealth, there are plenty of issues it could present to travel nurses. As the future of telehealth becomes increasingly mobile, travel nurses get to enjoy the luxury of checking up on patients with only a smartphone and reliable cell service on hand.
This luxury, however, is counter-balanced by the fact that travel nurses will have to take extra security precautions, especially if they’re on the road. One way travel nurses can take these precautions in hand is by requesting a smartphone device specifically used for remote-patient care, which should reduce security concerns.
Travel nurses should share the security precautions they’re taking with their patients since it’s one of the biggest concerns patients usually have with telehealth sessions. On top of educating patients about security measures they’re taking, travel nurses should also explain the benefits of telehealth, such as its convenience, affordability, and effectiveness. One study found that patients with chronic health issues who sought out regular telemedicine sessions experienced fewer complications like fewer hospital admissions and fewer risks in mortality.
Preparing Accessible Telehealth
Despite these troubles, there are plenty of telecommunications platforms, data clouds, and patient portals, making it easier for travel nurses to treat and monitor patients in rural and urban areas. Taking part in virtual services will require consistent access to these tools and the means to use them.
Here is some of the equipment essential for telehealth accessibility on the road:
- A strong, reliable internet connection. As a traveling nurse, this item may influence where you stop and stay as you move around to where you’re most needed. Additionally, you may consider mobile WiFi services powered by 5G connectivity.
- Quality patient management tools. While many smartphones these days can manage patient data with secure applications, you may want laptops or tablets that are easier to work with. High-resolution cameras can also improve the quality of virtual care.
- Access to HIPAA-compliant software. Care facilities employ various telehealth platforms and patient portals. Not all platforms, however, may meet HIPAA standards. Speak with your partnered providers to access telehealth support tools and ensure your software meets HIPAA standards for maintaining patient data privacy.
Alongside your nursing certification, of course, these items can be all you need to maintain access to telehealth services so that you can help patients wherever you are. With the popularity of telehealth these days, embracing the tools and skills needed to meet the demand can help ensure a world of opportunity remains open to you. As a result, you can make even more of a difference while increasing the accessibility of care for your patients.
An Accessible Future
With all the benefits of telehealth services, it’s no wonder that virtual care is expanding into all new services, from mental health counseling to health condition monitoring. If travel nurses take advantage of the luxury of telehealth and follow precautions, they’ll be able to support greater levels of patient safety and improve care outcomes.
Adopting telehealth accessibility on the road may sound difficult, but with something as simple as a solid internet connection — which is increasingly easy to find in the era of 5G — accessible care is in your hands.