Telehealth Robots: Bridging the Nursing Shortage Gap

by | Dec 14, 2023 | Articles, Content, Healthcare

An unprecedented and increasing nursing shortage could be remedied with the aid of technological solutions like telehealth robots.

The advent of telehealth robots across healthcare marks a pivotal shift in patient care and nursing practice. These technologies are emerging as crucial tools in combating the global nursing shortage, a challenge that has been escalating over the years. By automating routine tasks and enabling remote patient interactions, these innovations not only streamline healthcare delivery but also enhance the quality of patient care. Most importantly, it comes at a time when the entire healthcare industry, especially nursing, is in desperate need of forward-thinking solutions.

The Current State of Nursing and Technology

Today’s healthcare landscape is grappling with a severe nursing shortage, with more than 275,000 additional nurses required to meet demand by 2030. Technology and automation have the potential to help address this issue, but implementing solutions of these sorts hasn’t always been well received. “Technology has not been as kind to nursing as it probably should be, in some cases, has been unforgiving and cumbersome, has added to the workload, and it has impacted nurses’ well-being…” says Katie Boston-Leary, director of nursing programs at the American Nurses Association.

Telehealth robots are about streamlining the nurse’s role to focus more on the aspects of care that require human judgment and empathy.

Overall, nurses emphasize the need for a balanced approach where technology aids rather than overrides the essential human touch in nursing. Automation should be “an enhancement to the care, but not a replacement for that connection,” said Romoanetia Lofton, chief nursing officer and chief administrative officer of Alameda Health System’s Wilma Chan Highland Hospital.

A nurse checking the vitals of a hospital patient

The Role of Telehealth Robots in Nursing

The introduction of telehealth robots with autonomous capabilities could provide a solution that satisfies all parties involved. These robots, ranging from virtual nurse assistants to robotic medication dispensing systems, are not just technological marvels but also crucial in alleviating the burden of routine tasks, allowing nurses to dedicate more time to patient-centered care. This shift is not just about efficiency; it’s about redefining the nurse’s role to focus more on the aspects of care that require human judgment and empathy.

Technological solutions could effectively close the nursing workforce gap by up to 300,000 inpatient nurses.

A recent study by McKinsey & Company reveals insights into the transformative potential of technology in nursing. They estimate that about 10-20% of a nurse’s time could be better utilized with proper technological resources. The study further estimates that “after reallocating time back to nurses, health systems could free up a 15 percent net time savings, which could translate to closing the nursing workforce gap by up to 300,000 inpatient nurses.” Telehealth robots are a prime option to alleviate the time of our overburdened nurse force.

Balancing Technology and Human Touch

Of course, one of the most important and lasting aspects of nursing is the human element. Every patient wants hands-on attention when receiving care, and the integration of technology in healthcare raises important questions about the balance between automation and the human touch in nursing. As Danielle Weber, MSN, RN, chief nurse executive at ChristianaCare in Wilmington, Del. stated, “I think there’s always going to be that aspect of nursing, that you have to lay hands on a patient, and it’s never going to be fully automated. I think it would be a disservice to the profession if we did remove that aspect.”

A nurse interacting with telehealth robots

Telehealth Robots by OhmniLabs

Considering both the needs and concerns that nurses have expressed about automation and technological solutions, OhmniLabs is uniquely positioned to define the future of telehealth robots and redefine patient care. With our rich history in deploying telepresence robots for medical and hospital use, we hold a deep understanding of everyday tasks and challenges within that environment. We also have expertise in autonomous operations and how that feature can complement the nurse-patient interaction rather than replace it.

OhmniLabs is uniquely positioned to spearhead the future of telehealth robots and redefine patient care.

Our long-standing commitment to producing human-centric robots allows us to pinpoint and maintain that delicate balance between technical innovation and the indispensable human element in nursing. Telehealth robots from OhmniLabs not only address the immediate challenges of nursing shortages but also pave the way for a future where technology and empathy coexist in harmony to elevate the standard of patient care.

Ready to learn more about enhanced care with telehealth robots?

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