How nursing is changing and trust in healthcare: an interview with Danielle Siarri

October 20, 2021

Nurses play a critical role in our healthcare system, often serving as the primary caregivers in inpatient settings and building close bonds with their patients.

In fact, nurses are consistently ranked as the most trusted profession in America — a testament to the important role they play.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected healthcare in many ways, including how patients feel about and interact with their healthcare providers, it has also provided new pathways for nurses and other clinicians to build trust with their patients.

The pandemic and patient trust.

Patients who have more trust in their healthcare professionals are more satisfied with their treatments, have higher quality of life and follow healthier behaviors. Though the vast majority of Americans report high levels of trust in nurses, that trust must still be earned on a patient-to-patient basis.

“Being a nurse isn’t enough,” said Danielle Siarri, the clinical advisor at InnoNurse who holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s in nursing informatics. “You have to show that you care and you’ve got a little skin in the game.”

The pandemic has strained relationships between patients and their care providers and eroded some of that trust. This affects the care patients receive and also contributes to clinician burnout. When patients don’t want to work with their provider, refuse to listen to advice or won’t provide accurate information, it can be personally frustrating for healthcare professionals and increase the difficulty of providing high-quality care.

Building trust is a complex issue that needs to be addressed at every level of the industry, from organizations down to individuals.

Use technology as a trust-building tool.

While COVID-19 has strained many provider-patient relationships, it has at the same time increased the pace at which healthcare adopts new technologies.

Providers needed technology to adequately address their patients’ needs, and patients wanted to avoid in-person visits. With demand on both sides of the care delivery model, health tech finally had the support to become an integral part of the healthcare experience. For instance, telehealth utilization is now 38 times higher than before the pandemic, according to McKinsey analysis, and the firm foresees a possible $250 billion shift toward virtual healthcare. Patient acceptance, provider knowledge and, most critically, regulatory approvals, have finally all aligned to make telehealth a permanent part of our future healthcare model.

The necessity of telehealth has precipitated willingness to try other health tech tools, including wearables and other at-home monitoring devices. With patients and providers used to the idea of care being delivered outside the hospital or a physician’s office, an entirely new world of technological capabilities is available — and consumers are ready.

The global market of connected health and wellness devices, as well as digital health apps, is rapidly growing. Shipments of connected health monitoring devices such as smart thermostats, pulse oximeters and blood pressure monitors are expected to grow to 13 million units in 2021, a 17% jump.

The industry is also moving from collecting data from wearables to analysing that data. With that shift, nurses can better understand their patients’ health journeys and can be more involved in care management, discharge planning and readmission reduction efforts. And by spending less time in appointments gathering medical history, nurses can spend more time building relationships with their patients — and ultimately building greater trust.

Danielle Siarri on the continued changes in nursing and how to build trust into all aspects of healthcare.

When Siarri first started her nursing journey, clinicians and nurses were often left out of health tech developments — making it no surprise that these efforts failed. She’s seen that dynamically change in the past decade, with more companies prioritizing provider input and testing for their products and solutions. This has led to a much more successful implementation of technology into the healthcare industry and nurses’ daily work. Siarri sees this trend continuing to grow as patients become more comfortable with digital health technology and as the industry moves from data collection to data analysis.

Now a leading expert in health IT in America and abroad — Siarri has represented the U.S. at embassies around the world — she has a unique perspective on the past and future of nursing. She recently sat down with Mike Biselli, a health tech entrepreneur and Olive’s Evangelist, to talk about the evolution of nursing and technology while giving her recommendations on what can be done to improve care delivery, and most importantly, trust in healthcare.

Watch the full video to hear what she has to share.