Mobile, Connected, and AI-Enhanced Tools for Nursing: Interview with Dean Jing Wang of Florida State University

Mobile, Connected, and AI-Enhanced Tools for Nursing: Interview with Dean Jing Wang of Florida State University

May 5, 2022 – By Jared Mueller, Director – Mayo Clinic Innovation Exchange

In 2020, Florida State University (FSU) and Mayo Clinic announced a broad collaboration — with an emphasis on expanding biomedical education and innovation. Since that agreement, FSU has appointed a new president who had served as Harvard’s vice provost for research and launched the school’s structural biology program and Data Science Initiative; a provost who is a recognized expert in behavioral and mental health; and a Dean of FSU’s College of Nursing, Dr. Jing Wang, who is a national expert on the intersection of digital health tools and nursing.

The author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and presentations, Dean Wang is the editor-in-chief of JMIR Aging and serves on the editorial board of The Science of Diabetes Self-Management and Care Journal. Wang is also a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the President of the Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association. She also serves as a Health and Aging Policy Fellow working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as a Senior Scientific Advisor to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, as Senior Policy Adviser to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow.

Wang earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Multidisciplinary Master of Public Health, and graduate certificate in Clinical and Translational Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She earlier received her undergraduate degree at Jiangxi Medical College in Nanchang, Jiangxi, P.R. China.

Immediately before joining Florida State, Wang had served as the vice dean for research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Nursing — where she founded the Center on Smart and Connected Health Technologies, and held the Hugh Roy Cullen Professorship in Nursing.

Q: At UTHealth San Antonio, the School of Nursing had recruited you to serve as its vice chair of research and to establish its Center on Smart and Connected Health Technologies. Can you share more about the opportunities emerging technologies present to nursing in the 21st century?

JW: In many ways, Texas and Florida have similar assets and challenges. Both are large, complex states. Each is characterized by great cultural and socioeconomic diversity. In South Texas and Central Texas, much of our work focused on deploying mobile and connected technologies to support patients confronting obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other common chronic diseases in urban and rural areas. Underserved and non-English-speaking patient populations represented particular communities of focus and need. Millions of Floridians have similar challenges — challenges exacerbated by social determinants of health, and which remote monitoring tools and other technologies have the potential to help ameliorate.

Q: What role does the nursing profession play in the adoption of mobile and connected tools?

JW: Digital technologies are already transforming healthcare. AI-enhanced and 5G-enabled tools will play a larger and larger role in patient care — both in clinical settings, and in patients’ homes and communities. We as educators must ensure that the next generation of nurses is ready to thrive with these tools at their disposal. Patients will also benefit if the nursing profession has a strong voice in shaping the development of new technology. Nurses are regularly at the forefront of identifying unmet needs and innovating new solutions for patients, and institutions like Florida State can serve as engines for that nursing innovation.

Q: Much of your research has focused on the role digital tools play in supporting aging patients?

JW: Before my roles in Tallahassee and San Antonio, I was a distinguished professor of nursing at UTHealth Houston. While there I founded the Center of Excellence in Mobile and Connected Health in the UTHealth Consortium on Aging. Lifestyle interventions play a significant role in enhancing outcomes for many patients, and older patients are no exception. Many older patients live alone: these individuals may benefit disproportionately from the cues and support offered by connected tools — which can remind them to take their medication, encourage them to exercise, or notice the early signs of a health crisis and alert the patient’s care team.

Q: What breakthrough innovations in healthcare delivery or technology excite you most?

JW: There are many. For example, simple and smart technology solutions that will connect patients and caregivers. These will include tools that connect patients with their clinical care teams; that connect clinical teams and social service teams; that connect patients transitioning from one hospital to another (or back home); and that will connect doctors, nurses, and the whole care team at the right time with the right amount of care patients need. These are tools that will enhance in-person connections, versus replace them, all in simple and straightforward ways.

Artificial intelligence-driven technology solutions will also provide decision support for both patients and clinicians at the right time, with the right amount of information that’s relevant — and consider vital context, including social and environmental determinants of health. We are also excited about the expanding toolkit of precision health solutions, and tools that will offer high-tech, high-touch support. Our students will be at the forefront of developing these innovations and putting them into practice.

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Views expressed by guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Mayo Clinic. As a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Mayo Clinic does not participate in political activities.