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3 Health Systems Where Tech is Transforming Nursing

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   September 12, 2023

'Where we used to lean on human resources is now available in electronic format.'

Technology, including AI, can be found in practically every level of nursing—education, managerial, and clinical—says David Benton, RGN, PhD, FRCN, FAAN, CEO of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).

For example, virtual reality’s simulation systems provide nursing students with tailored, real-world situations to let them safely develop their skills in caring for patients; in management, tech is used for staffing and scheduling; and clinically, AI is used in venipuncture, where it scans the patient’s arm and identifies the best vein for an IV more than 90% of the time, Benton says.

These three stories from HealthLeaders illustrate how nurses at hospitals and health systems around the country are embracing the advancements that technology and AI can provide:

Singing River Health System

The challenge to effectively train nurses without enough preceptors led Singing River Health System to turn to technology to get the job done.

Singing River Health, a community-based, nonprofit healthcare provider for the Mississippi Gulf Coast, piloted the customized Elemeno Health workforce empowerment app at its Pascagoula hospital a little more than a year ago for nurse training and orientation and recently deployed it in numerous departments throughout its entire health system, says Susan Russell, MSN, RN CCRN-CSC, the health system’s chief nursing officer.

The platform provides nurses with a resource hub they can consult for bedside care by delivering hospital best practices in readily digestible resource formats such as interactive guides, how-to video clips, concise updates, and intuitive checklists.

"With high turnover rates, it's been an enormous challenge to get people in and get them trained because we have less people with experience to help train new nurses," Russell says. "With the app, we’re able to replicate the best preceptor you ever had and have them available as many times or anytime you need it," she says.

"Say I am that less-experienced nurse on night shift and I'm not familiar with gastric tubes. I learned virtually in school but maybe I just haven't seen it. Theoretically, you would have a preceptor," she says. "That's what we're able to get with this [technology]. Where we used to lean on human resources is now available in electronic format."

HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare nurses are using ever-developing technology that has enhanced communication, decreased administrative burden, and provides skill development—all with the goal of improving patient care, says Sammie Mosier, DHA, MBA, BSN, NE-BC, CMSRN, senior vice president and chief nurse executive.

"One we have implemented very wide scale is our iMobile platform where smartphones are deployed to caregivers, or nurses and beyond, to improve communications. It has secure text messaging, so they can send that without worry," Mosier says.

"Obviously, they can make phone calls, but then the platform also has the ability to provide some updates from our EHR so they get those alerts directly to their phone. Any critical labs for the patient or other necessary information are right there at their fingertips," she says. "Our nurses love that technology, and it has enhanced communication among the care team."

HCA has continued to invest in that platform to improve workload for other areas, Mosier says.

"One example that we did last year was wound care imaging, so that after a nurse takes the photo, it's a seamless integration with our EHR. Prior to that, nurses had to take a photo, print it off, and scan it in, which took about 20 minutes per image," she says. "It removes time for administrative tasks so the nurse can focus on patients."

Atrium Health

What began as an innovative way to monitor and care for COVID-19 patients at the height of the pandemic is evolving into a growing virtual nursing program at Atrium Health.

The North Carolina-based health system, now part of Advocate Health, launched its virtual nursing program in March 2021 when, like other health systems, nurses struggled to meet staffing demands.

Nurses loved it, patients loved it, and the health system noticed positive outcomes: decreased medication errors, decreased falls, increased patient satisfaction, and more, says Patricia Mook, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CAHIMS, FAONL, vice president of nursing operations, professional development and practice.

"The virtual nurse allows for early recognition of any changes in patient status, so attempting to get up would certainly be among those things we’re watching for," she says. "It has also provided us an earlier notification of when the rapid response team needs to engage, and in instances where the patient has coded."

Atrium Health has seen a 56% reduction in the number of call bell responses, and patient experience scores have risen dramatically, Mook says.

"It’s also useful in helping avoid mistakes. If you have a novice nurse on the floor, having an experienced nurse ‘in the room’ with them via video can be a huge comfort and ensure that all elements of care are provided appropriately," she says. "It truly has proven to be an additional layer of support to enhance patient care and outcomes."

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.


Workforce empowerment apps can offer the resources that preceptors typically provide.

Tech can effectively remove the time required for administrative tasks so nurses can focus on patients.

Virtual nursing can result in a dramatic reduction of call bell responses.

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