By Doris Savron, Executive Dean for University of Phoenix® College of Health Professions

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and increased regulation in healthcare throughout the last decade, the industry has seen digital and technological solutions implemented at an exponential rate. This shift to incorporating more technology into healthcare settings allows healthcare professionals to collect, store, retrieve and transfer information electronically, changing the way care is tracked and provided.1 

These innovative digital solutions, like use of electronic health records and computerized medication and laboratory orders, have increased the responsibilities of today’s healthcare professionals. With this shift, the roles of registered nurses and hospital administrative staff have expanded to include primary and preventative care, patient case management, advanced clinical specialties and increased interaction with technology on a daily basis.2 In line with this, according to a recent online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix ® College of Health Professions, 68 percent of administrative staff and 67 percent of registered nurses indicate that technology skills are essential to staying relevant in healthcare.3 

Leveraging technological advances, healthcare professionals have a vast amount of data to work with to meet their role responsibilities. Recent survey findings provide additional insights from registered nurses and healthcare administrators about the ever-evolving role of technology and training in patient care. The results include:

1 Nearly half (46 percent) of healthcare administrative staff have increased their involvement with information systems over the last two years. The same survey found that when looking to the next five years, nearly half of registered nurses (46 percent) and administrative staff (48 percent) see their role changing with an increased involvement with information systems.4 This increase inaccessible data provides healthcare professionals the ability to identify treatment trends and deliver customized patient care.

2 As the role of healthcare professionals expands, it is important to ensure they are prepared for the quickly evolving landscape and empowered to lead through change. According to the survey, registered nurses (90 percent) and administrative staff (88 percent) have identified that their facilities should focus on preparing them with leadership skills, but fewer agree their facility currently does a good job (62 percent, 74 percent respectively).5 Further, 95 percent of registered nurses indicated that proper training of new staff has a major or moderate impact on the overall quality of care given to patients.6

3 Technological advances are not only changing the role of healthcare professionals but the behaviors and expectations of healthcare consumers.

4 Patients today are more informed than ever before and involved in tracking their health. Yet, some things remain constant. The overwhelming majority of registered nurses (96 percent) have indicated that skills including compassion, empathy, and support are just as important as technical skills in providing quality care to patients.7

The ongoing change of the healthcare landscape offers healthcare professionals the unique opportunity to shape the care delivery of the future. Making sure that healthcare professionals are empowered through regular technology and leadership training enables them to stay current with the evolution of healthcare and focus on caring for the 21st-century patient. 

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