ANA OJIN is a peer-reviewed, online publication that addresses current topics affecting nursing practice, research, education, and the wider health care sector.

Find Out More...

Letter to the Editor

  • A critical element of preparing competent nursing students, not mentioned in "Crisis in Competency: A Defining Moment in Nursing Education", is the need to eliminate barriers to recruiting and retaining nurse educators still engaging in clinical practice.

  • Continue Reading...
    View all Letters...

Overview and Summary: Advancing Technology in Healthcare: Are You on Board?

m Bookmark and Share

Kathleen McGrow, DNP, MS, RN, PMP

Citation: McGrow, K., (September 30, 2021) "Overview and Summary: Advancing Technology in Healthcare: Are You on Board?" OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 26, No. 3, Overview and Summary.

DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol26No03ManOS

There is much transformation coming out of a pandemic. The crisis has spurred innovation and accelerated services that we would not have expected before and these are driven by real healthcare needs. Implementing practical ideas that can result in the introduction of new or improved goods and services is just one definition of innovation (Schumpeter, 1983). This can include technical innovation where the problem solved leverages technology. Nurses are problem solvers and problem solvers are innovators. Healthcare has seen a huge shift towards leveraging technology, so there is no better time to bring nurse innovators into the spotlight.

Frequently I get asked questions related to digital transformation and where organizations can leverage technology to improve patient care and the provider experience. Some examples include: What is the difference between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Clinical Decision Support (CDS)? What are some of the uses of remote process automation that can enhance provider efficiency? How can we better leverage our data to improve our clinical and operational effectiveness? I believe these inquiries are a signal that organizations are seeing the shift to using innovative technology to be at the forefront of patient care and meet their patient and provider needs.

Nurses must understand that they are innovators! They bring innovative ideas to the profession of nursing, and we can learn from these ideas. Any new technology or device can be disruptive, and these articles show how we are advancing technology in healthcare. Join me in reading these articles that shine a light on innovative technology, how nurses are engaged in innovation and how innovative solutions can be applied to improve patient care and the provider experience.

The article “The Promise and Perils of Health Internet of Things (HIoT)”, by Robert explains that we are just at the beginning of innovation and market growth for HIoT. Definitions, trends, and challenges of HIoT are defined and examined. Provider and patient collaboration are at the forefront of addressing HIoT challenges and includes how Design Thinking methods are used in design, innovation and problem solving. It is recommended that nursing expertise be involved during the design and implementation of HIoT, therefore nurses must have the skills essential to navigate technology and health literacy to best guide their patients in the use of HIoT.

As stated in the title, “Big Data in Nursing: A Bibliometric Analysis” by Carter-Templeton, Nicoll, Wrigley, and Wyatt, a bibliometric analysis was applied to learn more about the landscape of published literature in nursing pertaining to big data. The authors foster the premise that big data will have a significant role in nursing practice, education, research, and policy. The background includes how big data are characterized, categorized, and formatted. The evaluation of published research focuses on big data in nursing to evaluate trends and understand the current evidence. The bibliometric analysis reveals big data is discussed and seen of value across nursing. However, the lack of big data application approaches reveals a need for technical competencies, data literacy, and ethical knowledge to facilitate nursing scholarship, practice, interdisciplinary research, and policy to operationalize big data methodologies.

As I mentioned, nurses are natural innovators. Kagan, Littlejohn, Nadel and Leary discuss the many avenues available to nurses to stimulate and accelerate innovation and understand the impact of innovation on nursing practice. Entitled “Evolution of Nurse-Led Hackathons, Incubators, and Accelerators from an Innovation Ecosystem Perspective” the authors discuss the variety of opportunities for nurse led innovation and include examples. Regardless of the avenue - hackathon, incubator, or accelerator, nurses receive the opportunity to innovate and collaborate with industry resources. These collaborations empower nurses to be innovators and contribute to the development of an entrepreneurial spirit and mindset. Calls to action are provided for both academic and clinical education.

Tiase and Cato have authored “From Artificial Intelligence to Augmented Intelligence: Practical Guidance for Nurses” as a primer for nurses to better understand basic principles of data management and components of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The key concept of data literacy is based on the foundation of the Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom (DIKW) Framework. Analytics and AI are defined and examples of each are given. Augmented Intelligence is described and identified as a tool to improve nurse efficiencies. The writers advocate for nurses to participate in AI design, development, and implementation as nurses have a deep understanding of the problem to be solved and strong critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

Quigley and Tarbert’s informative article “Tango® Belt: A New Smart Hip Protector Solution” resonated personally, as my mother suffered a fall resulting in a hip fracture that triggered a significant decline to her health. The background and data on patient falls illustrate the medical and financial burden on our healthcare system and the need for technologic solutions to prevent falls and fall injuries. The Tango® Belt solution is described as an artificial intelligence (AI) based, Internet of Things (IOT) smart technology that utilizes motion-sensing decision-making which obtains patient data on postural sway and gait patterns to predict and protect patients from falls. Nurses need to collaborate across disciplines to ensure patient education and compliance for effective use of the Tango® Belt, and other similar products as they are developed to ensure that patients are protected from fall injuries. This technology requires ongoing data collection to inform the AI model.

Calling Nursing Informatics Leaders: Opportunities for Personal and Professional Growth” by Backonja, Mook, and Langford is an article that is timely and informative. I frequently receive requests from nurses for guidance on the best path into the professional practice of Nursing Informatics (NI). Through their research, Backonja and colleagues identify strategies to help clinical nurses advance their professional NI trajectory and develop into valuable mature NI leaders. While professional paths are individualized and must incorporate personal considerations, having the checklist of Strategies for Emerging NI Leaders is a significant artifact for future NI leaders. With the substantial increase in emerging disruptive technologies throughout healthcare, there will be an increased demand for Nurse Informaticists to navigate the technology and bring strong leadership to the NI profession.

The journal editors invite you to share your response to this OJIN topic addressing advancing technology. Please consider writing a Letter to the Editor or submitting a manuscript which will further the discussion of this topic which has been initiated by these introductory articles.

Kathleen McGrow, DNP, MS, RN, PMP

Kathleen McGrow serves as Chief Nursing Information Officer for Microsoft, Health & Life Sciences. In this role, Dr. McGrow advises organizations on how the innovative use of technology can support their digital transformation imperatives of consumer engagement, provider enablement, analytics for population health and cognitive computing to support a learning health system. Her expertise in data, analytics and artificial intelligence is used to educate organizations on how to enhance clinical, operational, and financial performance, maximize capacity and patient experience, and transform to new care models and paradigms.  Dr. McGrow has led, planned, and directed programs and strategic initiatives for organizations including implementation of an evidence framework for best practices. She most recently has published two articles about artificial intelligence: “Artificial Intelligence: Essentials for Nursing” and “Transforming Clinical Data into Wisdom: Artificial Intelligence Implications for Nurse Leaders.” Both articles were written to engage strategic thinking about current and future use of AI for clinical use cases and improve patient outcomes.

Dr. McGrow’s experience includes engaging with a variety of C-Suite executives, providers (clinicians) and care managers as well as a geographically dispersed team of clinical and technical experts. Prior to working at Microsoft, she held positions at GE Healthcare, Caradigm (a Microsoft & GE Company), and Philips. Her clinical background spans many years, with most of that time spent in trauma and critical care settings. Dr. McGrow has worked at some of the premier medical centers in the United States, including Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice focused on Executive Leadership and Evidence Based Practice.


Schumpeter, J.A. (1983). The theory of economic development: An inquiry into profits, capital, credit, interest, and the business cycle. New Brunswick, New Jersey. ISBN 0-87855-698-2.

© 2021 OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing
Article published September 30, 2021