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Nursing in a digital world

 Sian Kiely 23 Nov 2017

This week marks Digital Health and Care week in Scotland and seems the perfect time to highlight why the effective use of digital technologies is a key enabler in delivering health and social care now and in the future. 

The RCN has long supported digital health and believes it has a key role in improving delivery of care, health outcomes and efficiency. Our Every Nurse an e-Nurse initiative wants nurses to have the tools, skills and resources they need to make the best use of technology.

From the benefits of mobile technologies, to improved records sharing, and focusing on the digital skills needed to work effectively – RCN is embracing opportunities to develop the nursing contribution to eHealth.

Digital health is about more than the technology. Finding, using, recording, managing, and transmitting information - to support care, and inform and make decisions about patient care - means it is essential for nursing staff to have the skills and capabilities for working and thriving in a digital society. Nursing staff should be involved in the design and implementation of digital technology, increasing access to education, training, and using data to improve care. Developing digital capabilities is the first step before patients and citizens can benefit.

Mobile technologies can support teams to access the right information, in a timely way, to support high quality and person-centred care. However on-the-ground investment and implementation of digital technologies was found to be slow and patchy, when RCN Scotland interviewed district nurses and community nursing managers from NHS boards and academics. Our report Enhanced care in the palm of their hand: Developing mobile technologies for Scotland’s district nursing teams provides an insight into the current status of mobile technologies for district nursing teams, and makes clear the urgent need for investment in, and systematic implementation of, mobile technologies. The report demonstrates the benefits of mobile technologies in terms of efficiency, improved quality of care, and a safer service. Ahead of the Scottish Government’s new Digital Health and Social Care Strategy, the report makes recommendations for what needs to happen to make mobile technologies a reality for district nursing teams on the ground.

Technology and data are transforming healthcare, presenting huge opportunities to improve treatment, patient safety and wellbeing. It’s vital that nurses, healthcare support workers and nursing students have the skills they need to make the most of these opportunities, and the RCN will continue to campaign rigorously to make this a reality.

Image of Sian Kiely

Sian Kiely

Knowledge & information Manager, RCN Scotland

Page last updated - 05/09/2018