Innovations in Home Health Technologies and Nurse-Driven Solutions

Health technology can help patients monitor and manage their health inside the home, which not only keeps them safe but can also provide economic benefits.

A new Washington State University laboratory focused on home health technologies could potentially improve health outcomes and quality of life for adults with chronic conditions. Led by nurse scientists, the Nurse Technology Enhanced Care at Home (NTECH) lab will test off-the-shelf health innovations and develop new technologies to manage chronic conditions at home. Down the line, it will also provide a training ground for aspiring nurse scientists looking to enter the health technology field.

Health technology can help patients monitor and manage their health inside the home, which not only keeps them safe but can also provide economic benefits. An estimated $1.1 trillion is spent in the U.S. each year to treat chronic diseases, with the costliest ones being congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, neurological disorders, and dementias. Examples of home health technologies that can help manage these conditions include smart technologies such as fall detection sensors, wearable devices that track vital signs, and chronic disease management mobile apps. Household innovations like peel-away disposable bed sheets and bidets also fall into that category.

Shelly Fritz, WSU associate professor of nursing and an expert in the use of smart technologies in healthcare delivery, emphasized the need for a place that provides information on health technologies from a nursing lens. She mentioned that the laboratory is accepting products for testing and plans to provide those that test well with a nursing seal of approval, something she said doesn’t yet exist in the U.S. The nurse’s perspective of a product’s utility and performance could help patients navigate the increasingly cluttered health technology landscape to find those innovations that best meet their needs.

In addition to testing products, nurse scientists at the NTECH lab will join forces to develop new technologies that fill innovation gaps in chronic disease management. Their efforts will draw from the team’s combined knowledge in fields such as smart home technologies, mobile health app development, chronic pain management, gerontology, and adoption of health technology in underrepresented communities. The team also plans to have researchers from other disciplines contribute their expertise, though the NTECH lab will be nurse-driven.

A digital image featuring a nurse evaluating home health technologies in a laboratory setting

One final goal is to provide training to nurses who want to enter the health technology field. The aim is to have more nurses at health technology design tables at companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and health technology startups so that nursing expertise is involved from the very envisioning of a product all the way through the end. This initiative aims to transform the scenario where products are developed that are not well translated for use at the bedside or in the home.

The plan includes the development of a health technology elective track within WSU’s PhD in nursing program and a residency program in partnership with health technology company leaders, offering students the chance to gain hands-on experience at the NTECH lab and potential employment opportunities at the end of the program.

Our Perspective

From a digital consulting company perspective, Pinnacle Digital Advisors recognizes the vital role that nurse-driven innovations play in reshaping healthcare delivery. The focus on nurse-driven solutions in home health technologies aligns with Pinnacle Digital Advisors’ commitment to leveraging technology to improve patient outcomes and advance healthcare practices.

Pinnacle Digital Advisors

This article originally published: [https://news.wsu.edu/news/2023/10/27/new-lab-to-test-home-health-technologies-train-tech-savvy-nurses/]


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