Technological advances have had a significant impact on the healthcare industry. Tech has enabled healthcare workers to operate more efficiently in addition to enhancing capabilities to better treat patients. However, while technology has done a world of good, it can also lead to a decrease in empathy and communication in the healthcare setting.

Patients still require a human touch to feel properly taken care of. While technology has made significant improvements in the healthcare industry, it can mean patients are getting less and less personalized attention and care. While technology doesn’t “judge,” healthcare should never be a one-size-fits-all operation.

We still need healthcare workers to step in and care for their patients with empathy and understanding, something that computers and machines cannot do. Each patient is unique and deserves to be treated and cared for based on their individual needs. So it’s important to implement new technological changes while still keeping in mind that patients still need that human element to ensure they are properly treated and cared for as an individual.

How Technology Has Benefited The Healthcare Industry

The implementation of telemedicine has had a significantly positive impact on the healthcare industry. Before telemedicine, having access to proper care was particularly difficult for some individuals, such as the elderly and disabled, as well as those in marginalized and low-income communities.

Telemedicine is more affordable, offers scheduling flexibility, enables higher-quality personalized care, and is safer for immuno-compromised individuals. It also enables healthcare workers to keep better track of their patients and their digital information on things like online patient portals.

Other emerging technologies that are or soon will have an impact on the healthcare industry include:

  • Medical record tracking systems
  • 3-D organ printing
  • AI-powered systems to help diagnose and prevent diseases

The Importance of Empathy, Communication, and Understanding in the Digital Healthcare World

Healthcare workers can and should use new technologies to be more efficient, but they should also continue to communicate and use empathy when treating their patients to ensure they don’t feel neglected or left out. As mentioned above, one size does not fit all in healthcare, so it’s important to ensure that technology is used mindfully to avoid a lack of empathy.

Designers for the healthcare industry should be particularly mindful when designing new systems. Not everyone can access technology in the same way. For example, touchscreen tech is great for some, but others may require hands-free options that make use of voice command technology.

Technology can get designed with a general type of person in mind, but that can lead to others feeling left out and lacking access. So both healthcare workers and designers need to have an empathetic and inclusive mindset to ensure all types of individuals and patients are considered.

How Nurses Can Drive Change to Provide Better Patient Care

Nurses typically have the most contact with patients, which means they are most aware of what patients need and what is or is not working. This means nurses have an opportunity to step forward and advocate for their patients to ensure the healthcare industry is inclusive and provides the best care possible.

We need more nurses with quality leadership skills who are prepared to speak up for their patients and drive change in the healthcare setting. With technological advances, the industry is quickly changing, but nurses can use their leadership skills to make sure these changes don’t lead to a lack of empathy or reduced patient care.

Nurses also can use their communication and management skills to ensure general workflow and operations are running optimally as well. Poor workplace operations can lead to nursing and other healthcare staff shortages. If something isn’t working and your staff isn’t happy, it will trickle down and affect how patients are treated as well.

How Managers Can Be Better Mentors to Help Facilitate Change in the Industry

Of course, not all of the responsibility of pushing for change should fall on the shoulders of nurses. Though nurses play an important role in the healthcare setting, those in management and leadership positions also need to step up and be better role models and mentors. When meetings occur to discuss policy changes and workplace practices, for example, healthcare managers can use empathy for their staff to better communicate and resolve issues. They can facilitate change by not only being a good mentor but by listening to their staff and opening the floor during meetings to allow for questions and concerns to be heard and addressed more fruitfully and engagingly.

When healthcare staff feels that they are being seen, heard, and supported by management, it creates a more positive work environment which in turn will have a positive impact on patient care. This is especially important as nurses and other staff learn to adapt to new technologies to ensure issues are quickly dealt with, and patients are still getting the care that they need.

Final Thoughts

Overall, healthcare systems would crumble without empathy. As advancements in tech only continue to grow and have a significant impact on the industry, it’s essential for healthcare workers to not lose sight of what matters most—the needs of the patient. Nurses and those in leadership positions have the power to affect change to ensure that even with technology, we continue to communicate with patients to provide inclusive and personalized care.