Telehealth Nursing: A Comprehensive Guide
ScienceSoft brings in 17-year expertise in healthcare software development to create telemedicine applications for nursing.
Using telehealth, nursing staff provides remote care, health state monitoring, and consultations on symptoms, disease management, rehabilitation, etc. Telenursing helps mitigate staffing issues and decrease nursing staff travel time while ensuring continuous patient monitoring and care management.
The telemedicine market is expected to amount to $175 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 19.3%. During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth technology for nursing practice has become one of the key telemedicine directions due to the increased number of patients, nursing staff shortage and overload.
How Telenursing Works
The common elements of the telenursing software architecture include:
App for nurses
featuring a patient list, patient health history, patient vitals tracker, nurse video visit request scheduling and approval, instant messaging with patients, etc.
App for patients
including such features as nurse video visit scheduling, vitals entry, chat with a nurse, self-help guides, etc.
Cloud data storage and processing module
for patient-related data (e.g., telenursing calls history, contact information, health records), telenursing staff data, images shared by patients and nurses in the app (e.g., photos of wounds), video calls recordings, etc.
Video streaming server
for real-time video communication between patients and nurses.
Admin web panel
to view a telenursing staff list, grant app access to patients and nurses, etc. (used by nursing supervisors, nurse practitioners, administrators of home care organizations).
A telenursing application can be integrated with smart devices for patients, including wearables. By collecting data from the devices, the app enables a nurse to track a patient’s vitals (e.g., blood glucose level, blood pressure) and monitor a patient’s health state in real time, without the need to enter this data manually.
Preoperative and postoperative patient care
Nurses can track patients’ vitals with the help of connected medical devices and communicate with patients via video to guide them through pre-surgical preparation. After surgery, nurses’ e-visits facilitate recovery and help timely identify possible exacerbations using photos and videos sent by a patient.
Chronic disease management
A telenursing app enhances adherence to the care plan, helps manage symptoms and control patients’ health parameters (e.g., checking a patient’s blood pressure readings or glucose readings), and allows a nurse to provide symptom alleviation instructions remotely.
Aimed mostly at elderly patients and patients with special needs, a telenursing app enables nurses to receive real-time information about patients’ health state, coordinate home care, and ensure timely care management changes.
Pregnancy monitoring and newborn care
Via video communication, nurses provide mothers with professional advice about pregnancy, conduct childbirth preparation courses, monitor women’s and babies’ vitals (entered by a patient or gathered by smart medical devices).
Scheduled video calls with a psychiatric nurse that bring such benefits as improving medication adherence among patients with mental disorders, identifying new symptoms, reducing stress and anxiety, and promoting coping mechanisms among patients.
Nursing industry insights from ScienceSoft’s Healthcare IT Consultant Alena Nikuliak:
"American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) and the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) do not recognize telehealth nursing as a separate nursing practice or subspecialty. Taking it into account, telenursing can be easily implemented into everyday practice because nurses do not need to have additional certifications to use such apps."
Live video conferencing
Patients schedule online appointments via the patient app for a nurse to check their health state, provide care instructions, guide through pre-surgical preparation, analyze medical tests’ results in real-time, etc., or they can call a nurse in case of emergency.
Remote patient monitoring
Nurses can track and evaluate patients’ vitals collected either by connected medical devices (biosensors, glucometers, stethoscopes, etc.) or entered manually by patients, and suggest treatment changes.
Offline chat consultations
Without scheduling an appointment, a patient sends a question to a nurse, and the nurse provides medical advice within a selected timeframe (e.g., explains how to care for an injury, minor illness) or suggests reaching out for a doctor’s help.
Image and video sharing
Nursing staff checks the healing process (e.g., wounds or incisions healing), monitors medication side effects (e.g., rash, swelling) via photos, or shares necessary video or photo instructions (bandage changing, post-injury exercise, etc.) with patients.
Professional teleconsultations with experienced nurses
A nurse contacts a colleague to discuss the necessary changes to the treatment in case of unusual symptoms or abnormal health parameters.
Self-help guides for patients
The app provides access to educational videos, tutorials on first aid and condition-related lifestyle changes for patients.
Messaging and conferencing
Using a telenursing app can be challenging for some groups of patients, e.g., elderly patients. Treatment adherence may be hindered by a lack of positive reinforcement.
CHECK OUT THE SOLUTION
While planning the application, focus on clear and user-friendly UI that won’t require additional user training. To verify that the interface is intuitive and easy-to-understand, allocate additional resources for usability testing. To motivate patients to use the app, ScienceSoft suggests implementing gamification techniques and in-app notifications to remind them of scheduled e-visits or regular vitals entry.
Potential HIPAA breaches in a telenursing app may entail reputational and financial risks for healthcare organizations.
CHECK OUT THE SOLUTION
HIPAA-compliant clouds (e.g., AWS, Azure) provide a secure environment for building a telenursing application, including EHR data storage in an encrypted database, storage of real-time patient monitoring data in the encrypted form, identity and access management, network and application firewalls, and more.
Real-Life Examples of Telenursing
- After implementing telemedicine systems for rural practice and patient care in the Missouri Telemedicine Network, advanced practice nurses reported enhanced professional satisfaction and improved quality of patient care.
- Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center located in rural North Carolina implemented a patient-provider telehealth network. It enabled telehealth nurse care managers to monitor patients’ data via the system’s dashboard and contact patients with abnormal readings to conduct a nursing assessment and provide professional advice.
General investment size factors
- Complexity and quantity of telenursing app functions (e.g., text chats, videoconferencing, chatbots, connected smart devices, VoIP communication, etc.).
- Number and complexity of needed integrations with third-party software (e.g., EHR/EMR, CRM, HIS).
Additional investment size factors
- Connected medical devices (glucometers, biosensors, stethoscopes, pulse oximeters, etc.).
- Cloud services used in the telenursing app.
- Higher bandwidth for quality video consultations.
Telenursing Consulting and Development by ScienceSoft
ScienceSoft brings in 17 years of experience in healthcare software development to provide you with an application for quality remote nursing care.
Telehealth nursing consulting
Our healthcare consultants help:
- Analyze the market and key competitors.
- Decide on the telenursing application’s functionality.
- Create a list of software requirements.
- Choose the optimal tech stack.
- Develop an approach to integrations (e.g., with EHR, CRM, HIS, etc.).
- Calculate investments and ROI.
- Help you comply with HIPAA requirements.
- Estimate a payback period.
Telenursing application development
The assigned team will:
- Plan a telenursing application (list software requirements, define functionality).
- Define a telenursing app’s architecture and tech stack.
- Design UX and UI.
- Develop and test the telenursing application.
- Assure the telenursing app’s security (with a focus on HIPAA and FDA compliance).
- Support the app and drive its evolution (if required).
ScienceSoft is a US-headquartered IT consulting and software development vendor with 33 years of experience. Holding ISO 13485 certification and being experienced in the development of HIPAA-complaint software, ScienceSoft develops reliable telemedicine software for nursing care.